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Google sets aside $500 million for potential settlement of Justice Department investigation

May 11, 2011 |  6:18 am

Google is setting aside $500 million for the potential settlement of a U.S. investigation into its advertising business, resulting in lower first-quarter net income.

The expense knocked its net income to $1.8 billion, or $5.51 a share, in the quarter, Google said in a regulatory filing. Google had reported a first-quarter profit of $2.3 billion.

"We believe it will not have a material adverse effect on our business," Google said in the filing.

Google makes almost all of its money from online advertising. The Justice Department is investigating the use of Google ads by "certain advertisers," Google said in the filing.

Google has come under heightened scrutiny from regulators in the U.S. and overseas. The disclosure in a regulatory filing signals an escalation in that scrutiny.

The Federal Trade Commission is looking into Google's dominance in the search business. Google already faces a full antitrust review from the European Commission.

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Google profit rises 30%

-- Jessica Guynn

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