Regulators Now Gear Up To Probe Google Maps In Potential Anti-Trust Case: Report

Last Updated: February 24, 2023, 13:05 IST

‘They are also free to use other mapping services in addition to Google Maps Platform – and many do,’ a Google spokesperson said.

According to a report in Politico, Justice Department antitrust lawyers are working to target Google’s vast mapping business, focusing on the company’s control of digital maps and location data.

After facing an intense scrutiny of its Search and advertising businesses, Google is reportedly facing another potential probe from the US Department of Justice (DoJ) — this time a potential anti-trust investigation into Maps.

According to a report in Politico, Justice Department antitrust lawyers are working to target Google’s vast mapping business, focusing on the company’s control of digital maps and location data.

“A lawsuit targeting Google Maps could be filed this year,” said the report, citing people familiar with the matter.

“DOJ officials have been meeting with Google’s competitors and customers in recent weeks to decide who would be the best witnesses in any potential lawsuit challenging its dominant position in the market for digital maps and location information,” the report mentioned.

The Google Maps investigation is “a priority for the department’s antitrust division, and prosecutors are working quickly to reach a conclusion”.

The DOJ is also scrutinising the Google Automotive Services offering for automakers, which offers Google Maps with Google Play app store and the company’s voice assistant.

The DOJ and a group of state attorneys general first sued Google in October 2020, accusing the company of illegally monopolising the online search market.

The case is currently set to go to trial in September.

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Google was also hit with a second case from the DOJ and an overlapping group of states targeting its online advertising business.

The company has always said its policies are designed to improve user experience.

A Google spokesperson was quoted as saying that “developers choose to use Google Maps Platform out of many options because they recognize it provides helpful, high-quality information”.

“They are also free to use other mapping services in addition to Google Maps Platform – and many do,” the spokesperson was quoted as saying.

In September last year, a US court allowed a larger antitrust case against Google to proceed that alleged that the tech giant monopolised the ad-tech market and suppressed competition by its access to data.

The judge, however, dismissed claims of collusion between Google and Facebook (now Meta) in the “Jedi Blue” programme, a deal in which Google and Facebook allegedly joined hands for ad auctions.

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(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed)