California, Google’s homeland, initiated an antitrust investigation into the search giant, according to a Politico report, late Thursday.
The news of the reported investigation comes months after a coalition of Attorney General, led by Ken Paxton of Texas, announced in September that it would investigate Google’s massive digital ad operations and other areas of business that could harm competitors. Only two states – California and Alabama – were missing from the group.
At a press conference a month later, Becerra indicated that his office could actually investigate the technology giant’s practices. “How do you know we’re not investigating?” He told reporters when asked about the absence of the state from the broader probe. Google is based in Mountain View, California, about 40 miles south of San Francisco.
The focus of the probe reported by California is unclear. In an email, Becerra’s office said, “To protect its integrity, we do not comment on a potential or ongoing investigation.” Google declined to comment.
The report comes as Google faces an intense antitrust review. The U.S. Department of Justice has also investigated the search giant’s alleged anti-competitive behavior and is expected to file a lawsuit against the company this summer. Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai, is expected to appear along with CEOs of Facebook, Apple and Amazon at a hearing before the House’s Subcommittee on Antitrust later this month as part of a broader review of Silicon Valley’s antitrust law.
Google has also been the target of lawsuits filed by other attorneys general. In May, the search giant was hit by a consumer fraud lawsuit filed by the Attorney General of Arizona, Mark Brnovich, alleging the search giant was deceiving its users into collecting location information from their phones.
The lawsuit follows another one in February when New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas sued Google for allegedly violating federal laws protecting children’s privacy through its educational platforms. The lawsuit has been accused of collecting information about students’ locations, their passwords, and the websites they visit.