Federal regulators are poised to hit Google Inc. with subpoenas, launching a broad, formal investigation into whether the Internet giant has abused its dominance in Web-search advertising, people familiar with the matter said.
The civil probe, which has the potential to reshape how companies compete on the Internet, is the most serious legal threat yet to the 12-year-old company, though it wouldn't necessarily lead to any federal allegations of wrongdoing against Google.
While Google has faced several antitrust probes in recent years, the U.S. has limited its investigations largely to reviews of the company's mergers and acquisitions. The new inquiry, by contrast, will examine fundamental issues relating to Google's core search-advertising business, its biggest money maker, said the people familiar with the matter.
Feds to Launch Probe of Google - WSJ.com