Google looks set to be investigated for abuse of its web dominance, according to reports which state that the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is on the verge of issuing the search giant with subpoenas relating to an investigation.
The Wall Street Journal cites 'people familiar with the matter' who confirm that the investigation will look at Google's core search business, having already made informal enquiries over the past months.
There is speculation that the case could be as major as the long-running Microsoft anti-trust case launched in 1991, which took over a decade to reach its conclusion.
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Page rank controversy
Google is no stranger to the anti-trust probe but, until now, they have been focussed on new business acquisitions and mergers, or been brought against it by competitors, rather than naturally targeting its main raison d'etre.
The investigation seeks to confirm whether Google prioritises its own services in search results, putting competitors at a significant disadvantage.
Other complaints against the search giant include the high cost of advertising on Google, ranking of its own services in the organic results list and using other companies' content without permission and buying up companies that pose a threat to its business.
Europe: ahead of the curve
In Europe, there is already an ongoing investigation by the EU seeking to decide if Google violates any of its competition laws, a stance that Google strenuously rejects.
In a blog post penned as the European Commission review kicked off, Susan Wojcicki, senior vice president of product management at Google wrote,
"Given our success and the disruptive nature of our business, it's entirely understandable that we've caused unease among other companies and caught the attention of regulators.
"Answering users' queries accurately and quickly is our number one goal. We built Google for users, not websites."