New York, California Said to Start Antitrust Probe of Google

New York and California are in the early stages of an antitrust investigation of Google Inc. (GOOG), along with Texas and Ohio, said a person with knowledge of the matter who didn’t want to be identified because the probe isn’t public.

Officials in Texas and at the European Commission have started investigations into Google’s dominance of the Internet search industry. Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said in March his office was “evaluating the facts” to determine whether it wanted to conduct a probe.

Google, operator of the world’s largest search engine, is coming under increasing scrutiny by regulators in the U.S. and Europe for some of its business practices. The Federal Trade Commission is preparing a broad antitrust investigation of the company, two people familiar with the matter said in April, while the antitrust division of the U.S. Justice Department is reviewing the company’s $400 million purchase of Internet advertising company Admeld Inc., two people familiar with the matter said last week.

Mistique Cano, a spokeswoman for Mountain View, California- based Google, declined to comment yesterday.

Lynda Gledhill, a spokeswoman for California Attorney General Kamala Harris, and Lauren Passalacqua, a spokeswoman for New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, declined to comment.

New York and California are in the early stages of an antitrust investigation of Google Inc., along with Texas and Ohio, said a person with knowledge of the matter who didn’t want to be identified because the probe isn’t public. Photographer Martin Oeser/AFP/Getty Images Close

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New York and California are in the early stages of an antitrust investigation of Google Inc., along with Texas and Ohio, said a person with knowledge of the matter who didn’t want to be identified because the probe isn’t public. Photographer Martin Oeser/AFP/Getty Images

Ohio, Oklahoma

“The Ohio Attorney General’s Office cannot confirm or deny the status of any possible investigation,” Dan Tierney, a spokesman, said yesterday in an e-mail.

Oklahoma Attorney General E. Scott Pruitt said in May that he may join other states and federal agencies in probing Google’s dominance.

Diane Clay, a spokeswoman for Pruitt, said the attorney general’s office was looking at both consumer protection and competition issues, including Google’s data collection practices, social networking policies and data collection by the Android mobile phone operating system.

The investigation by California and New York were reported earlier by the Financial Times.

To contact the reporter on this story: Karen Freifeld in New York at kfreifeld@bloomberg.net; Sara Forden in Washington at sforden@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net

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