The Federal Trade Commission is preparing to end its antitrust investigation of Google ahead of looming changes to the membership of the agency’s ruling board.
The coming turnover has created renewed urgency about resolving the nearly two-year-old probe of Google, said people familiar with the talks, which are likely to conclude in the next few days.
A settlement between the FTC and the search giant was nearly completed in the week before Christmas, but a commission vote and formal announcement was abruptly delayed amid furious criticism from rival companies, state attorneys general and other observers who called the reported terms of the deal weak.
These groups allege that Google uses its commanding position in Web search to hurt rival companies and leverage its travel services, restaurant reviews and other products.
The parameters of the deal, which lack the binding terms and long-term oversight central to other FTC agreements with major technology companies, have not meaningfully changed over the past two weeks, said people familiar with the FTC’s thinking who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss matters not yet public.