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Google's interactions with federal regulators

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 3, 2013 at 5:07 pm •  Published: January 3, 2013

— August 2011 — Google agrees to pay $500 million to settle a U.S. government investigation into the Internet search leader's distribution of online ads from Canadian pharmacies illegally selling prescription and non-prescription drugs to American consumers. The settlement allows Google to avoid criminal charges. Google had disclosed earlier that it had set aside that amount to cover a potential settlement, though the company provided few details then.

— February 2012 — U.S. Department of Justice clears Google's $12.5 billion purchase of Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. hours after European officials approved it. Google waits another three months for approval in China.

— April 2012 — The Federal Communications Commission fines Google $25,000, saying the online search leader "deliberately impeded and delayed" an investigation into how it collected data while taking photos for its "Street View" mapping feature. Google disputes the FCC's characterization of the probe and says the FCC was the party that took its time. Google says it accepted the fine to close the case.

Separately, the FTC signals that its year-old probe is deepening by hiring an outside lawyer, former U.S. Justice Department prosecutor Beth Wilkinson, to dig deeper into Google's business practices. The FTC stresses the Wilkinson's hiring should not be interpreted as a sign that it intends to crack down on Google.

— August 2012 — The FTC announces that Google has agreed to pay a $22.5 million fine to settle allegations that it broke a privacy promise by secretly tracking the online activities of millions of people who use Apple's Safari web browser. It's the largest penalty ever imposed by the FTC. Google isn't admitting any wrongdoing. The fine isn't over Google's data collection, but for misrepresenting what was happening, in violation of last year's agreement to settle the Buzz case.

— January 2013 — Google settles the antitrust probe with the FTC without major concessions to its search formula. Google agrees to license on "fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms" hundreds of patents deemed essential to the operations of mobile phones, tablet computers, laptops and video game consoles. It also promises to exclude, upon request, snippets copied from other websites in capsules of key information shown in response to search requests. But Google prevails in the pivotal part of the investigation, which delved into complaints it has been highlighting its own services in search results while burying links to competing sites.