Google is a massive company that touches the lives of almost everyone in the US, and that has led to increasing regulatory pressure. Amid rumors of a federal probe, 50 attorneys general have joined forces to launch an antitrust probe of the company. According to Texas AG Ken Paxton, the leader of the investigation, the inquiry will focus on Google's advertising business, but it could expand depending on what they find.
The probe includes the attorneys general of 48 states, Washington DC, and Puerto Rico. Just California (Google's home state) and Alabama are uninvolved. An antitrust investigation like this could run parallel with a federal case, causing considerable headaches for Google. Ultimately, the company could be slapped with a hefty fine, forced to alter its practices to improve competition, made to spin off some businesses, or all of the above.
Google is not alone among big tech firms when it comes to antitrust scrutiny. The Department of Justice is currently probing Apple, Amazon, and Google. Multiple attorneys general are also investigating Facebook for... well, everything Facebook does. The FTC has a separate probe of the social network. We've reached out to Google for comment and will update if we hear back.
Google has pointed to a post made on Friday as its response, which apparently anticipated the announcement today. In the post, Google points out that it has created thousands of jobs and is one of the top spenders on research and development in the US. Google says answering the questions of government regulators is nothing new, and it will have similar answers for the attorneys general. It's basically a few hundred words of highly polished PR-speak.