Nov 14, 2019

States to expand Google probe

Photo: Pedro Fiúza/NurPhoto via Getty Images.

The multi-state antitrust probe into Google will expand beyond the advertising business to search and Android, CNBC reports.

Why it matters: Google is already facing investigations into potentially monopolistic behavior on many fronts, and the expansion of the states' probe will further widen the scrutiny.

Driving the news: The states investigating Google plan to write up civil investigative demands for information on search and Android, according to the CNBC report.

  • The Texas-led probe began with a focus on online advertising, though Attorney General Ken Paxton said in announcing the inquiry, "Right now it's about advertising, but the facts will lead where they lead."
  • The Justice Department, which is also investigating Google, is reviewing the competitive dynamics around personalized advertising, antitrust division chief Makan Delrahim said during a House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee hearing Wednesday.

Flashback: Google disclosed in September that the Justice Department has requested information on prior antitrust investigations in the U.S. and elsewhere.

  • The FTC closed a probe into Google's search practices in 2013 without taking legal action.
  • Google referred a request for comment to a blog post from September that indicated the company expected the states to seek information.

Go deeper

DOJ scrutiny of tech could stretch beyond antitrust

Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images.

High-ranking antitrust enforcers, speaking at an influential D.C. legal forum, zeroed in on big tech companies' potential for anticompetitive behavior but also signaled they may take a broader approach to policing the industry.

The big picture: The Trump administration, Congress and state attorneys general are all investigating tech companies, including Google and Facebook, for antitrust violations. But they're also acknowledging that the laws governing competition may not be enough to rein in powerful online platforms.

Go deeperArrowNov 19, 2019

Google builds data tool to help publishers see what's going viral

Photo credit should read LOIC VENANCE/AFP/Getty Images

Google has created a new tool to help newsrooms make coverage decisions based on real-time data of what’s being searched on Google and talked about on Twitter.

Why it matters: It’s the latest effort by a tech giant to help give newsrooms access to data that could help their businesses. Google argues newsrooms can boost user loyalty by using the tool to cover the topics they are most interested in.

Go deeperArrowDec 5, 2019

Fired Google workers plan federal complaint

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Four employees fired by Google right before Thanksgiving plan to file an unfair labor practices complaint this week with the National Labor Relations Board, charging that the company fired them for engaging in protected labor organizing.

Why it matters: The prospect of engineers challenging an iconic Silicon Valley firm under well-established labor laws could mark a sea change for the largely non-unionized tech industry.

Go deeperArrowDec 3, 2019