The top brass at the U.S. Federal Trade Commission are edging towards launching an anti-trust case against search giant Google, according to reports.

Reuters reports that four of the five FTC commissioners are 'convinced' that Google has been illegally using its dominance in the search market power to promote its own businesses, to the detriment of rivals.

One of the commissioners, is still skeptical three Reuters sources have claimed, but that may not prevent a host of complaints from companies like Yelp and Nexttag being heard before a court.

Those two are among a host of online businesses who allege that Google punishers them in search results in order to sell more ads on its own location and shopping-based services.

Cooking search results?

This isn't the first time the allegations been probed at U.S. government level. In September 2011, chairman Eric Schmidt told a congressional hearing "I can assure you we haven't cooked anything."

In response to this weekend's reports a Google spokeswoman Niki Fenwick said: "We are happy to answer any questions that regulators have about our business."

The FTC is yet to officially comment.

Google is currently facing a similar probe in Europe, where it is accused of the same thing, and this summer agreed in principle to make compromises on how it lists search results.

Any decision on whether the FTC will file a similar lawsuit against Google is likely to be made before Christmas, according to Reuters.

Via Reuters