Bundeskartellamt, Germany’s anti-trust regulator, has launched two investigations into some of Google’s business practices. 

One probe will deal with how the tech giant handles data.

Cartel office president Andreas Mundt said: “The Google business model is fundamentally based on the processing of its users’ data. Google has a strategic advantage here due to established access to competition-relevant data.

“We will therefore take a very close look at the data-processing conditions. A central question is whether consumers have sufficient options for the use of their data by Google if they want to use Google services.”

The watchdog says its investigation will examine the extent to which the company’s terms for account or non-account uses of its services plus the personalised settings allow Google to carry out data processing across different services.

The investigation will also seek to clarify how information from advertising, websites and third-party apps is processed and recorded, and if users have sufficient options for the purpose and manner in which the data is processed, the Bundeskartellamt said.

The other investigation will focus on Google’s significance across markets.

Mundt said: “Due to the multitude of digital services such as the search engine, YouTube, maps, the Android operating system or the Chrome browser, Google is of paramount cross-market importance for the competition.”

Under a German law which came into force last January, the anti-trust regulator can prohibit companies with cross-market importance from practices that threaten competition.

A Google spokesman said the company would cooperate in the investigation.

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