Senators Ask FTC to Investigate Google Just Two Months After Last Investigation

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Arnd Wiegmann / Reuters

The Federal Trade Commission’s year-long investigation into Google’s user privacy practices only finished a few months ago, but two U.S. senators have decided that two months is too long, and have called for the FTC to look into Google all over again, this time focusing on the company’s dominance in the search industry.

The request came in an open letter sent to the FTC by senators Herb Kohl and Mike Lee, whose concerns were raised during Antitrust Subcommittee hearings on Google in September, particularly around Google performing 65-70% of all computer-based Internet searches, and 95% of all mobile device Internet searches. “Given the scope of Google’s market share in general Internet Search,” they wrote, “a key question is whether Google is using its market power to steer users to its own web products or secondary services and discriminating against other websites with which it competes.”

(MORE: Watchdog Petitions FTC for New Regulations on Google, Facebook, Twitter)

This isn’t a new idea by any stretch; the company has already come under investigation for the same thing in Europe, with Microsoft supporting the claims. But the senators are also concerned about whether or not Google is unfairly maintaining its search dominance, as well, writing:

Industry observers have raised concerns that Google may, as a condition of access to the Android operating system, require phone manufacturers to install Google as the default search engine. In response to written questions after our hearing, Google denied that it presently makes this demand, suggesting that manufacturers are free to install any search engine they wish. Yet Google has been unwilling to provide any assurance that it will not adopt such a policy in the future.

Google’s response, so far, has been cool–a company spokesperson told Talking Points Memo that “these letters are customary, and we appreciate that the committee reserved judgement as we continue to cooperate with the FTC.” Privately, you have to wonder if those inside the company are just asking “We’re going to be investigated again?”

MORE: Eric Schmidt to Senators: Google Is Nothing like Microsoft

Graeme McMillan is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @Graemem or on Facebook at Facebook/Graeme.McMillan. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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