Google reveals two international probes
Google said today that both South Korea and Argentina have recently opened probes into its activities, moves that increase the spotlight on the way the search giant collects data and competes with others.
According to The Wall Street Journal (subscription required), Google revealed in a quarterly regulatory filing that the two countries are conducting inquiries into “certain business practices” of Google.
A Google spokesperson told the Journal that “Argentina’s regulator ‘notified us that they are conducting a preliminary inquiry into our search and search advertising services, and we are of course happy to answer their questions.’”
Argentina’s National Commission for the Defense of Competition said that its Google inquiry is about finding out if the search giant “has a dominant position in its respective markets that could affect Argentina,” wrote the Journal.
At the same time, South Korean officials are conducting an inquiry that began in 2011, and Google is also cooperating with officials there, the company spokesperson told the Journal. Last year, as first reported by CNET, Korean officials raided Google’s Seoul offices, looking into how the company has dealt with competition on its Android operating system.
Regulators were interested in information about the company allegedly restricting rival search engines’ access on Android. In April 2011, Korea’s NHN and Daum Communications requested an investigation by the country’s Fair Trade Commission to look into Google’s business practices regarding mobile search.
Google cannot be happy about the new probes, especially given that they come just as the company is facing U.S. Federal Trade Commission interest into whether it uncompetitively leveraged its dominant position in search, and European regulators are looking into whether the company is guilty of antitrust violations there. The U.S. Justice Department, however, did close its probe into Google Street View, the company announced yesterday.