Google is now facing a fresh EU investigation into its advertising platform, two years after regulators closed down nearly 10 years of investigations into its practises.
The European Commission said in a statement it would assess whether the big tech behemoth had breached competition regulation and whether its algorithm favoured its own online advertising technologies over its rivals.
The investigation also will look into whether Google prevents rivals access to user data unfairly as well as examine its privacy changes that will mean advertisers no longer require cookies and data access.
“We are concerned that Google has made it harder for rival online advertising services to compete,” EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager.
“Online advertising services are at the heart of how Google and publishers monetise their online services.”
The probe is the first time the EU has examined the online advertising business ran by Google where it automatically offers ad space and prices to advertisers and brands as users click on sites.
EU investigations carried out in the previous decade have focussed more on shopping search and mobile phone ads.
Google responded to the investigation in a statement and said that it would “continue to engage constructively with the European Commission to answer their questions and demonstrate the benefits of our products to European businesses and consumers.”
“Thousands of European businesses use our advertising products to reach new customers and fund their websites every single day. They choose them because they’re competitive and effective.”
According to the regulation body itself, its digital advertising spend was around €20 billion ($24 billion) in 2019.
Google has previously been sanctioned with fines upwards of $9 billion by the EU after it was found to have breached regulations.
Currently EU fines are calculated on yearly revenues and the value of sales, being capped at 10 per cent of annual revenue.