FTC Readying For Probe Into Google's Search Engine Dominance

The US Federal Trade Commission is planning to launch a probe into Google's dominance of the internet search market.

Three people familiar with the matter have told Bloomberg that the agency had already told other tech companies to provide it with information that would help it with the probe.

The FTC has yet to make a public announcement regarding the probe but has informed the companies that it will be issuing civil investigative demands to make it formal. These investigative demands carry the same legal weight as a subpoena.

The FTC was waiting for the US Department for Justice to complete its probe into the proposed $700 million acquistion of ITA Software by Google. On April 9, the Justice Department decided to allow Google to go ahead with the acquisition provided that it allowed rivals to access ITA Software’s services.

ITA Software allows travel websites to offer travel data to customers including flight times and costs.

Google has nearly 90 percent of worldwide search traffic, an advantage that it has used to successfully launch a number of other services, including gmail and the popular Chrome internet browser.

Google has not yet commented on the Bloomberg report or on the possible FTC probe.