US States initiate anti-trust probe against Google

Google's CEO Sundar Pichai

Attorneys general for 50 USA states and territories on Monday officially announced an antitrust investigation of Google, embarking on a wide-ranging review of a company that Democrats and Republicans said may threaten competition and consumers.

The announcement by the states comes days after New York State Attorney General Letitia James announced she is leading a separate coalition of states in a wide-ranging investigation of Facebook Inc.

The investigation is being led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who hinted on Monday that the initial investigation could spawn others.

The attorneys-general said Google search results are skewed towards its own products and those of advertisers rather than the best information.

The Sept. 9 investigative demand, which is similar to a subpoena, was issued as 48 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico announced an antitrust investigation of Google from the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington.

"Google monitors our online behavior, and captures data on every one of us as we navigate the Internet", Attorney General Ashley Moody, a Republic from Florida, said in a statement.

One of the AGs compared the situation to a real estate market in which one company owns not just the house you want to buy but all other houses on the block, and is both your agent and the seller's.

"What we've all learned is that while many consumers believe that the Internet is free, certainly we know from Google's profits of United States dollars 117 billion that the Internet is not free", he said.

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Fifty attorneys general announced on Monday that they are joining an investigation into left-wing tech giant Google over alleged antitrust violations.

"If Google has gained its advantages in the marketplace through free and fair competition, then let the chips fall where they will", said Hill.

The probes could result in algorithm changes for Facebook and Google to make it friendlier for rivals to compete.

Legal experts from each state will collaborate with federal authorities to assess competitive conditions for online services and ensure that Americans have access to free digital markets.

But he's also accepted significant campaign contributions from Google, which is headquartered in his state.

The U.S. Justice Department opened a sweeping investigation of big tech companies this summer, looking at whether their online platforms have hurt competition, suppressed innovation or otherwise harmed consumers.

"We continue to work constructively with regulators, including attorneys general, in answering questions about our business and the dynamic technology sector". "I'm heartened to see a new group of attorneys general with the courage to stand up to these powerful companies and fight for citizens", Sen.

Google's share of the market, however, has dropped in recent years as companies like Amazon attract more spending.

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