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    Germany opens anti-cartel probe into Google Maps

    BERLIN (AFP) – Germany’s anti-cartel watchdog said yesterday it has opened a probe into Google Maps over restrictions that may be giving it an unfair advantage over competitors.

    “The proceeding is to examine possible anti-competitive restrictions imposed by Google Maps Platform to the detriment of alternative map services providers,” the Federal Cartel Office said in a statement.

    President of the watchdog Andreas Mundt said it had reason to believe that Google “may be restricting the combination of its own map services with third-party map services, for example when it comes to embedding Google Maps location data, the search function or Google Street View into maps not provided by Google”.

    The move comes after the Federal Cartel Office in January classified Google as a company of “paramount significance across markets”, paving the way for the authorities to clamp down on any potentially anti-competitive activities.

    Parallel proceedings are already ongoing to examine Google’s terms and conditions for data processing and its news offer Google News Showcase.

    An amendment of the German Competition Act came into force last year, allowing the authority to intervene earlier, particularly against huge digital companies.

    Google Maps app on a smartphone. PHOTO: AP
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