Google may soon be under scrutiny from the U.S. Department of Justice.
The DOJ is preparing for an antitrust investigation of Google's business practices related to search and its other businesses. That's according to sources speaking to the Wall Street Journal, and reports from Bloomberg and The New York Times have also said that Google is in the DOJ's crosshairs. The NYT adds that the DOJ has been looking into Google's advertising practices and its influence in the online advertising industry as well.
There's no word on when the DOJ might formally open an antitrust investigation of Google. If it does launch an investigation, though, it won't be the first time that Google has faced antitrust scrutiny from the U.S. government. The Federal Trade Commission previously conducted an antitrust investigation of Google but ended up taking no action. Google then made some changes to its own business practices.
Google has also faced antitrust scrutiny from the European Union and has been hit with billions of dollars in fines for breaching antitrust rules, including for actions related to Android and the preinstalled Google Search and Google Chrome apps.
With this latest possible investigation, the FTC and DOJ have been in talks to determine which agency would oversee the newest antitrust probe. The FTC ultimately agreed that the DOJ would take it over.
Google and other major tech companies have been the targets of a lot of criticism lately. For example, some in the government feel that companies like Google and Facebook are becoming too large and powerful and that they should be broken up. We don't yet know if this antitrust investigation will lead to any major changes with Google, but if the reports are accurate, we may soon learn more about exactly how the DOJ is going to go after Google. Stay tuned.