Google may have to face up to the reality of an impending federal antitrust investigation by the US Department of Justice (DOJ).
According to a report by The Wall Street Journal, the DOJ has been preparing for a probe into Google after it reached an agreement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), with which it shares antitrust authority, in which scrutiny of Google's conduct would fall to the DOJ's antitrust division.
The DOJ's potential investigation was revealed by two people familiar with the matter who declined to be identified, but who did reveal that the move could present a major new layer of regulatory scrutiny for the search giant.
Both Democratic and Republican lawmakers in the US have been placing pressure on antitrust officials to increase scrutiny and enforce tougher regulation on the country's tech giants.
The DOJ inquiry would be run by Makan Delrahim, the head of the antitrust division, with one area of potential scrutiny being Google's control over the digital advertising market, for which it accounts for approximately 37% of the US digital ad market.