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Sens. Seek DOJ Assurances Google Investigation Includes Search

It would seem a bit of a no-brainer, but a bipartisan pair of senators wants to make sure the government investigation of Google includes search. 

Related: Delrahim Seeks Examples of Online Anticompetitive Conduct 

Sen. Josh Hawley

Sen. Josh Hawley

In a letter to Attorney General William Barr, Sens. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), who are far apart on the political spectrum, are apparently in agreement that DOJ needs reminding to insure that its antitrust investigation includes Google's search operations. 

They say that while the department is investigating Google's behavior in the online advertising market, they are concerned that it might be focusing too narrowly on online advertising, which the senators say is inextricably linked to is the billions of search results every week that give it that ad dominance. 

Related: Google Hit with $1.7B EC Fine Over Search 

"Narrowing the investigation's focus such that Google's anticompetitive practices dominate the online search market is not captured does a grave disservice to consumers," they wrote.  

Sen. Richard Blumenthal

Sen. Richard Blumenthal

The senators have both long sought an antitrust investigation into dominant tech companies in general. Given that Google's advertising operations are "downstream" of its search business, they say focusing on that could miss the "primary" source of anticompetitive conduct. 

They pointed out the EU's $2.7 billion fine of Google three years ago for manipulating search and what they said is ample evidence Google biases search results to "favor its own properties."