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Report: US DOJ gearing up for Google antitrust probe

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Report: US DOJ gearing up for Google antitrust probe

The U.S. Justice Department is "laying the groundwork" for an antitrust investigation into Google LLC, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing sources.

The Federal Trade Commission, or FTC, and DOJ share authority on antitrust investigations but have agreed for the law enforcement agency to proceed with the investigation, the Journal reported May 31.

A task force is investigating how the Alphabet Inc. unit arranges search results, how it integrates its search engine with its other services and its advertising practices, The New York Times reported later that day, citing three people "with knowledge of the deliberations."

The department could also revive the FTC's old case against Google, the Times reported. The FTC closed the case, which alleged that the search engine giant gave preference to its own services in search results, without taking action in 2013 after Google agreed to make changes to some of its search engine advertising practices.

According to the Times, the FTC renewed its interest in Google after a new antitrust task force was announced in February.

The FTC referred complaints about Google to the DOJ and also directed companies and others with complaints against Google to the law enforcement agency, The New York Times reported, according to two people familiar with the actions.

In March, the European Commission fined Google €1.49 billion for anticompetitive practices on its AdSense for Search platform.

Google did not immediately respond to S&P Global Market Intelligence's request for comment.