Google’s Pichai, EU’s Vestager to talk amid data-use probe

Alphabet Inc Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai will speak to the European Union’s antitrust chief just days after the EU said it was looking into the company’s data-collection and advertising practices.

Margrethe Vestager, the bloc’s digital affairs and antitrust chief, will speak to Pichai on Jan 25, according to the EU calendar on Friday.

EU regulators earlier this week confirmed sending out questionnaires as part of a probe into data-collection and advertising practices at Alphabet’s Google unit. The move comes as antitrust authorities across the world have stepped up scrutiny of how tech companies gather and use information from people and businesses using their services.

An EU spokesperson said Pichai and Vestager “will discuss issues within the digital and competition portfolios.” Google declined to comment.

The EU has been examining Google’s data practices since 2019 and is also probing how Inc uses rivals’ sales data. Google’s potential use of data from acquiring health tracker Fitbit was examined by the EU before it cleared the takeover with conditions last month.

Google has also been critical of Vestager’s plans to regulate tech giants more heavily. Vestager set out plans last month that would curb what internet companies can do if they are deemed an essential “gatekeeper” to digital services.

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