German watchdog launches Google Maps investigation

The Google Maps app logo is seen on a smartphone in this illustration

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany's cartel office launched an investigation of Google Germany and parent Alphabet Inc on Tuesday over possible anti-competitive restrictions on the Google Maps platform.

"We have information to suggest that Google may be restricting the combination of its own map services with third-party map services," said Bundeskartellamt head Andreas Mundt.

He said examples of this could relate to the embedding of Google Maps location data, the search function or Google Street View into maps not provided by Google.

The regulator is looking into whether this "could allow Google to further expand its position of power regarding certain map services", he added.

A Google spokesperson said the company was working with regulators and would answer any questions about its business.

Under new regulations that came into force last year, the regulator can ban companies with a certain market weighting from carrying out practices that harm competition.

The office has used the rules to open parallel investigations into Google's terms and conditions for data processing and the Google News Showcase, as well as tech giants Facebook and Amazon.

(Writing by Rachel More; Editing by Madeline Chambers and David Goodman)