Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost joins Google anti-trust investigation

Face with 'Google' projected on

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost joins Google anti-trust investigation

Google, the technology giant that dominates search and other online products, faces an extensive bipartisan antitrust investigation supported by all but two USA states.

On Monday, Reyes and Racine joined forces again - this time flanked by almost a dozen mostly Republican state attorneys general on the steps of the Supreme Court and dozens more from both parties who signed onto the formal investigation. The initial focus of the joint probe, according to Paxton, will be on the company's online advertising business.

The investigation is being led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who hinted on Monday that the initial investigation could spawn others. "Right now, we're fact-gathering".

The investigation significantly raises the risks of regulation for Google, which so far has faced antitrust scrutiny from federal lawmakers and the Justice Department.

Meanwhile, 11 other attorneys general, led by New York Attorney General Letitia James, started an investigation against Facebook, investigating whether the social media company violated competition laws and abused Americans' privacy.

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"And what we have found is that Google, the giant company Google, is the one that's directing most if not all of the traffic on this highway".

Google responded to the investigation in a blog post written by Kent Walker, senior vice president of global affairs.

Karl Racine, the Democratic attorney general for the District of Columbia, said that the state attorneys general would persist in their probe, even if the federal government declines to take action against Google.

While the probe wouldn't exist if regulators didn't have concerns about Google, Utah-based AG Sean Reyes says there's a "presumption" of innocence; at least until proof of any law-breaking practices comes to light.

Arkansas AG Leslie Rutledge called Google's online search engine a "juggernaut", and argued that a free search sometimes came at the cost of the freedom to choose the best products from the best companies.

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Google's parent company, Alphabet, has a market value of more than $820 billion and past year reported revenue of $137 billion and income of $31 billion.

The 48 states have asked Google, earlier this week, to share documents on how it runs its advertising operations. The attorneys general are looking into whether the Silicon Valley search giant has gotten too big, and perhaps too effective at stomping out rivals. California and Alabama are now not publicly involved in the effort.

The Justice Department is also probing Google's role in the online advertising market and its search operations, Bloomberg has reported, although it's inquiry is separate from the state efforts. Washington is home to two of America's largest tech companies, Amazon and Microsoft.

"Information is power, and the most powerful source of information today is the Internet", Brnovich said in a statement.

"We continue to work constructively with regulators, including attorneys general, in answering questions about our business and the dynamic technology sector".

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