The Federal Trade Commission has hired a prominent trial lawyer to oversee its investigation into whether Google has been abusing its dominance of Internet search to stifle competition and drive up online advertising prices.
Former Justice Department prosecutor Beth Wilkinson will examine Google's business practices as the FTC's year-old probe deepens. Wilkinson is best known for helping to convict Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh in 1997. She also has experience in antitrust law and white-collar criminal cases.
The move announced Thursday indicates the FTC probe may be moving into a new phase.
The FTC stressed that Wilkinson's hiring shouldn't be interpreted as a sign it intends to sue Google Inc.
European regulators are conducting a similar investigation into Google's tactics.
Google has consistently said it hasn't been doing anything wrong.