Google admitted they have been a subject of a Department of Justice inquiry recently, and have been assessed a ‘fine’ or penalty of $500 million. Luckily, they had a few extra bucks laying around to cover this. There are no details yet on what exactly the issue was, but it seems related to large advertisers who used the Adwords platform. More info is available here and the SEC regulatory filing is available here.
Update – the fines appear related to Google accepting money for advertising via it’s Adwords system from illegal online pharmacy operators. It’s unknown if they actually knew these operations were legit or not. The Wall St Journal adds more to the report here.