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Senators want antitrust probe into Google's search practices

An investigation into advertising practices should be extended to Google's search engine activities, two senators say.

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Angela Lang/CNET

Two senators are seeking an antitrust review into Google's search practices. Google's digital advertising practices are already the subject of an antitrust probe by 50 attorneys general, and Sens. Josh Hawley and Richard Blumenthal want this extended to search. Google has dominance in advertising because of "its enormous search engine market share," their letter to Attorney General William Barr says, as reported earlier Tuesday by Axios.

"Google's online advertising conduct is inextricably linked to Google's search activities," the letter says. "At more than 90% of the global market share for search, the opportunities for anticompetitive conduct are substantial."

The letter suggests Google attained search engine dominance "through illicit means," pointing to the EU fining Google $2.7 billion for manipulating search results in its favor.

The digital advertising review was announced in September 2019, with 48 states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico taking part in the investigation of whether Google uses anticompetitive practices to achieve dominance.

Google declined to comment.