Google faces double whammy from FTC and EU

Posted by Emma Woollacott

The Federal Trade Commission is believed to be about to launch an anti-trust investigation into Google, as the EU complains about its privacy policy.

According to Reuters, the probe is likely to focus on whether Google is abusing its dominant position in search, directing users to its own services rather than those of its competitors.

It's an allegation that Google has consistently denied, despite a barrage of complaints from rivals including Yelp and Nextag. They say that Google has a tendency to give their sites lower rankings than its own, forcing them to buy ads to increase their visibility.

The EU is already concerned about the issue too, with competition commissioner Joaquín Almunia suggesting last month that Google is 'using its dominance in online search to foreclose rival specialized search engines and search advertisers'.

An FTC investigation could kick off as soon as next month, and could well lead to a lawsuit, with the FTC said to be building up a legal team.

Meanwhile, the company's facing fresh trouble in the EU too, this time over privacy.

According to the Guardian, France’s data protection authority, CNIL, and other EU data protection commissioners are unconvinced that the privacy changes the company introduced earlier this year actually satisfy EU regulations.

They want the company to give users the ability to opt out of having their data consolidated across Google's range of services, and will call on it to revert to its previous privacy policy.