U.S. Justice Department Stepping Up Google Maps Probe

Probe originated in late 2020

The U.S. Justice Department is stepping up a Google Maps probe to see if the company is promoting monopolistic practices in its mapping business that hampers third-party apps.

According to published reports, DoJ is looking whether Google’s Android Automotive, which requires car manufacturers to install Google AssistantYouTube Music and Play Store, triggers antitrust action. DoJ is also scrutinizing Google Maps’ terms of service (ToS) to see whether it limits how developers use its map data.  Right now, a third-party navigation company cannot use Maps APIs because it would compete with Google Maps.

The Justice Department launched its probe in late 2020, but Reuters reported that it has not received much legislative interest until very recently.

Google has been under fire recently as three U.S. states and the District of Columbia have sued Google for alleged ‘deceptive’ collection of location data on Android devices.  The attorney generals of Texas, Washington state and Indiana joined with the District saying that Google makes it hard for users to stop sharing their location data, among other allegations.

Google Maps now has improved Toll information (Image: Google Maps).

In other company news, Google Maps is now updated to tell drivers toll pricing in  more than 2,000 roads across the U.S., India, Japan and Indonesia.  While Google Maps included which roads had tolls, it did not give detailed information on the cost of using a toll pass or other payment methods, what the day of the week it is, along with how much the toll is expected to cost at the specific time you’ll be crossing it, according to a company blog.

In addition, future map updates include traffic lights and stop signs along a route, enhanced details like building outlines and areas of interest.  In select cities, drivers will be able to assess the shape and width of a road, including medians and islands, according to the blog.



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