Google's online ad business under investigation by Canadian regulators

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Google "G" logo (Image credit: Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Canada's Competition Bureau has opened an investigation into Google's ad business.
  • The agency is concerned about the search giant's harmful effect on ad competition in Canada.
  • Google is required to present the bureau records related to the investigation.

Google's online advertising business is under scrutiny from the Canadian Competition Bureau, which announced on Friday that it has received a court order to investigate the search giant's ad business.

The concern is that Google's online advertising business practices may harm Canada's online display advertising industry, making it hard for other advertisers and publishers to compete.

Android Central reached out to the Bureau for more details on the practices under investigation, but it could not provide any specifics. However, the investigation includes YouTube ad inventory and the market for Demand Side Platform (DSP) services.

As part of the court order, Google must provide the Bureau with records relevant to its investigation. This will help determine whether or not Google's ad business impedes competitors, results in higher prices, and stifles innovation in the ad tech industry.

This isn't the first time Google's advertising business has been under scrutiny. In June, the European Union (EU) opened an investigation into the search giant over "possible anticompetitive conduct," and in July, Google was fined €220 million by the French Competition Authority for granting preferential treatment to its own ad services.

Google was not immediately available to comment on the investigation.

The Bureau previously concluded an investigation into Google's search and ad business in 2016, after it was found that there was "inadequate evidence to support a conclusion that Google's conduct...was engaged in for an anti‑competitive purpose and/or that the conduct substantially lessened or prevented competition in Canada."

While the current investigation is underway, the Bureau notes that there is "no conclusion of wrongdoing at this time."

Derrek Lee
Managing Editor

Derrek is the managing editor of Android Central, helping to guide the site's editorial content and direction to reach and resonate with readers, old and new, who are just as passionate about tech as we are. He's been obsessed with mobile technology since he was 12, when he discovered the Nokia N90, and his love of flip phones and new form factors continues to this day. As a fitness enthusiast, he has always been curious about the intersection of tech and fitness. When he's not working, he's probably working out.