Google is becoming a "giant monopoly" like Microsoft and must become more transparent or face legal action, Germany's justice minister has said.
According to Reuters, Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger told German magazine Der Spiegel that she was concerned about the amount of power and information the web giant was gathering about ordinary people, through programmes such as Google Earth.
"All in all, what's taking shape there to a large extent is a giant monopoly, similar to Microsoft," she said. "My initial response is not to ban something or stop something. But I do want to create more transparency and ensure that users know what is going on with their data," she added.
"I think the companies have an obligation here, and a lot of things ought to be improved. If that doesn't happen soon we may have to take action as legislators."
A spokesman for Google Germany told Reuters that full transparency was central to the company and that it was constantly striving to make improvements in this area.