To help us provide you with free impartial advice, we may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site. Learn more

Google’s internet monopoly is being challenged by 48 US states

Representatives from all but two US states are launching an historic antitrust investigation into Google’s business practices

Google is currently staring down the barrel of a lengthy investigation conducted by no fewer than 50 attorney-generals from US states and territories. According to The Washington Post, the investigation aims to determine whether the firm’s domination of the internet search industry is having a detrimental impact on consumers and businesses.

Texas attorney general Ken Paxton announced yesterday that a group of 50 representatives from US states and territories will be taking part in the investigation. Although critical of Google’s domination of “all aspects of advertising on the internet and searching on the internet,” Paxton advised that for now, the investigation will remain exactly that – there will be no legal action taken unless absolutely necessary.

The reasoning behind the investigation is self-evident. Google has an iron grip on the internet search industry – the Californian firm currently owns 90% of the market share – and an equally staggering sway over online advertising, according to The Washington Post. This year alone, Google is expected to make over $48bn in digital ad revenue in the US, and will reportedly net “75% of all spending on US search ads.”

It should come as no surprise that attorney general Paxton has highlighted this domination of the digital advertising industry as a key point of contention. Google has recently received complaints from many of the attorney-generals involved in the investigation, with particular issue found in the way Google ranks search results and maintains user privacy.

Out of 50 US states, only California and Alabama chose not to involve themselves in the proceedings. Attitudes towards Google’s sheer size are otherwise shifting quite rapidly: after the implementation of GDPR in Europe, the European Union issued Google with a hefty €50 million fine, which still pales in comparison to the total $9 billion in “competition-related fines” estimate to have hit Google over the past three years.

For its part, Google has agreed to cooperate with the investigation, which is the second of its sort to take place in the last decade. A similar investigation conducted six years ago by US federal watchdogs found no reason to take legal action.

Read more