FTC To Deepen Google Antitrust Probe: Report

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(Reuters) - Google Inc is about to receive the civil equivalent of a subpoena from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission as part of a probe into the Web giant's Internet search business, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter.
The company, which dominates the U.S. and global markets for search advertising, has been accused by competitors of favoring its own services over rivals in its search results.

Google and the FTC declined to comment on the Journal report.

The FTC plans to send the civil investigative demand with a request for more information, the civil equivalent of a subpoena, within five days, according to the report.

U.S. antitrust regulators have been concerned about Google's dominance of the Web search industry, and the giant Internet company has been under investigation by the European Commission since last November.

Complaints has been filed with regulators on both sides of the Atlantic, many from Google rivals who specialize in vertical searches like price comparison websites, which are widely seen as a threat to Google's position as a key gateway to online information.

Google has had antitrust setbacks. The company walked away from a search deal with Yahoo Inc in 2008 when the Justice Department signaled it was prepared to challenge it.

And a New York judge said last month that a deal Google had made with publishers and authors to create a massive digital library was illegal, partially because it effectively gave Google the rights to books which are in copyright but whose authors cannot be found.

(Reporting by Bill Rigby and Diane Bartz; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and John Wallace)
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