Google, a unit of Alphabet, has agreed to pay $8 million (roughly Rs. 65 million) to settle claims it used deceptive advertisements to promote the Pixel 4 smartphone, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced on Friday.
The search and advertising giant, which also makes Android smartphone software and owns YouTube, has been scrutinized for antitrust and consumer protection infractions by both the federal government and state attorneys general. The federal government has filed two antitrust lawsuits.
In this instance, Paxton’s office alleged that Google hired radio announcers to give testimonials about the Pixel 4 even though the company had refused to allow them to use one of the phones.
“If Google is going to advertise in Texas, their statements better be true,” Paxton said in a statement. “In this case, the company made statements that were blatantly false, and our settlement holds Google accountable for lying to Texans for financial gain.”
Google said in a statement that it takes compliance with advertising laws seriously. “We are pleased to resolve this issue,” said spokesperson Jose Castaneda.
Meanwhile, Google is also facing issues in India as the competition watchdog has begun an inquiry into the company after some companies alleged the service fee the US firm charges for in-app payments breaches an earlier antitrust directive, a regulatory order seen by Reuters showed on Friday.
Tinder-owner Match Group and Indian startups have asked the watchdog to investigate Google’s new User Choice Billing (UCB) system, which they alleged was anti-competitive.
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) on Friday issued an order stating “it is of the opinion that an inquiry needs to be made.”
© Thomson Reuters 2023