US Justice Department accelerates Google Maps antitrust probe

The investigation has been underway since 2020


Google Maps is an essential and omnipresent tool for a reason: Its maps and directions are accurate, user-friendly, and they usually provide all the information you need to get from point A to point B. But there have been claims that Google doesn’ t play well with its competition when it comes to using Maps and other apps, and unfortunately for the search giant, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) is looking closely into those arguments.

According to a new report from Reuters, the DOJ is still pursuing an inquiry that began in 2020 into whether Google’s integration of Maps with other Google software illegally suppresses competition — therefore breaking antitrust laws. The probe is reportedly focused on two main avenues of inquiry. One of those targets the apps you’ll find in car infotainment centers. Google Automotive Services gives carmakers a branded bundle that contains Maps, the Play Store, Assistant, and some other relevant apps to use in vehicles. The problem is that manufacturers aren’t allowed to mix Maps with any other kind of voice assistant — which Google claims is simply because full integration of its products makes for the optimal experience. The other direction of the probe is looking at the way Google doesn’t permit developers who use Google tech in their apps to also use tech created by rival companies.

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As Reuters notes, Google already has one 2020 lawsuit on its plate — the DOJ alleges the giant tech broke antitrust laws in trying to remain the top search engine. That suit’s looking like it will go to trial in 2023 — and it may well be followed by another focused on the way the company has long dominated online advertising. Potential antitrust measures from the DOJ could drastically change how Google dictates the way Maps is used. Until then, we’ll just have to wait and see what happens in court.


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