Bipartisan attorneys general launch investigation into Google

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- Tech giant Google is once again facing pressure to change their ways.

Google's parent company, Alphabet, has a market value of more than $820 billion and controls so many aspects of the internet that it's hard to imagine surfing the web for long without running into at least one of its services. (Source: MGN)

Attorneys general representing twelve different states took to the Supreme Court steps today to declare an investigation into Google's ad-buying practices.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is leading the inquiry. The bipartisan group plans to uncover whether larger companies ability to pay Google big money for ads gives them a leg up over smaller, newer companies.

The investigation will focus on ad practices but other issues like user privacy and misleading search results were also brought up. Florida's Attorney General Ashley Moody says users deserve to know the cost of using the free-of-charge search engine.

"As competition is stifled... as businesses that might seek to innovate and compete are stopped in their tracks... as more and more we increasingly give over information as a price, I wonder if they are still free," Moody said. "And so we have to look at this using the existing anti-trust law but through a different lens."

Attorney General Kevin G. Clarkson announced Monday that Alaska joined the investigation.

“A free and competitive market is vital to smaller businesses to be able to compete, and this is especially true in Alaska where businesses are trying to market beyond our borders both nationally and internationally,” said Attorney General Clarkson.

South Dakota's Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg said they'll have to wait and see how the facts unfold before coming up with solutions.

"I think this is going to help the people of South Dakota because it's gonna potentially increase competition," Ravnsborg said. "But I want to be very clear: we're going in with no preconceived remedies. That question was asked about remedies, we want to see where the information takes us. What are the facts."

The investigation includes 50 attorneys general including D.C. and Puerto Rico. Alabama and California, where Google headquarters is located, still have yet to sign on. Google said in a statement about this and other ongoing investigations that they plan to work constructively to prove their company is allowing fair competition.


Channel 2's Gilbert Cordova contributed to this story.

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