Google may be charming users with its latest search engine minigame, but regulators in the U.S. and abroad aren’t amused by Google’s other antics.
Google has been facing regulatory scrutiny in the U.S. in the form of an antitrust probe by the Federal Trade Commission, which Google first acknowledged in June 2011. The probe reportedly concerns how Google is using its dominant position in search to promote its various other products, as well as Google’s Android mobile operating system.
Now, that FTC investigation appears to be heating up. The agency has hired an outsider to spearhead the probe, and a famed prosecutor at that: Beth Wilkinson, the federal prosecutor who convicted Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, according to a report by the New York Times on Thursday.
The FTC’s Chairman Jon Leibowitz was careful to stress to reporters that Wilkinson’s involvement did not necessarily mean that the government would be launching any sort of legal case against Google, but the last two times an outsider has been hired have resulted in a complaint and a suit, respectively, Reuters reported.
Meanwhile, Google admitted in its latest Securities and Exchange Commission quarterly report that the business competition regulatory agencies of both Argentina and South Korea had opened investigations into the company, as the Wall Street Journal first reported on Friday.
A Google spokesperson told The Journal that the Argentine investigation was over its search and advertising business, while in South Korea, the company only stated that the investigation had begun in 2011 and that it was complying with the government of that country.