Way back in February, the European Union announced its intention to look into allegations made against Google that the search leader wasn't ranking its competitors fairly in the results it delivered. Well, that fact-finding mission seems to have unearthed at least some hint of impropriety on Google's part, as it's now shed the "preliminary" label and has become a full-on antitrust probe. The original complaints came from EJustice.fr, Foundem.co.uk, and Microsoft's price comparison service Ciao, and they're still the basis of the investigation, though secondary issues, such as Google's conditions for advertisers and the way it tracks ad campaign data, will also be looked at. Let's not forget, however, that we're still dealing with allegations here, and it's going to be quite tricky to show any misdoing without delving into Google's famed algorithms and internal practices -- then again, maybe that's exactly what Mountain View's competitors are after.

Update: Google has responded to the news on its Public Policy Blog.