Google Inc. on Tuesday purchased online ad tracker DoubleClick Inc. after European Union (EU) regulators cleared its $3.1 billion bid for the company, the Associated Press reports. According to Google’s CEO, merging with DoubleClick will enable Google to more quickly develop and release advances in technology and infrastructure that would ultimately improve digital media and target advertising. According to the EU's antitrust authority said its decision was based exclusively on the economic issues and did not address the companies' obligations under EU rules for privacy and personal data processing. EU data privacy regulators, however, expect to complete a separate probe into search engines' privacy policies by April, according to the AP. Meanwhile, privacy advocates at the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Digital Democracy suggest that the EU regulators' failure to impose safeguards has "helped strengthen a growing digital colossus that will now be in a dominant position to shape much of the global future of the Internet." Yet, the EU said it found no proof that Google and DoubleClick would be able to marginalize competitors, noting that Microsoft, Yahoo and AOL are "credible" alternatives for Web site ad placement. In addition, the AP reports that Google and DoubleClick are not currently rivals, and Google's purchase of even a potential competitor would not have an adverse impact on competition in the online ad market (White and Liedtke, AP/Yahoo! News, 3/11/08).