Whenever Google does something, it seems like people try to call the Feds in. I guess that’s what comes with being a massive company which has products that people rely on day in and day out. It’s also number one in the category of search, which paints a huge target on its back.
The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) has written a letter to the FTC, urging it to investigate Google’s recent Search plus Your World offering that has some folks enraged, including Twitter.
About its concerns, EPIC had this to say:
Google’s business practices raise concerns related to both competition and the implementation of the Commission’s consent order.
The consent order that EPIC is referring to has to do with a settlement between Google and the FTC on its privacy safeguard practices. Much like Facebook’s settlement, this causes Google to surrender to occasional audits by the FTC.
This isn’t the first time EPIC has had concerns with Google’s practices. In the past, EPIC caused a stir about Buzz, YouTube, and the DoubleClick acquisition. In the letter sent today, EPIC suggests that Google hasn’t learned anything from its previous settlement, and provides some evidence that supports that line of thinking:
Google’s changes implicate concerns over whether the company prioritizes its own content when returning search results. Incorporating results from Google+ into ordinary search results allows Google to promote its own social network by leveraging its dominance in the search engine market.
Is Google’s social search anti-competitive? I’m not convinced, but then again, I’m not a lawyer. Since the FTC is already monitoring Google, I assume that this latest development will get lumped into its dealings with the search giant.
You can read the entire letter below and decide for yourself whether EPIC has legitimate legal concerns about Google’s latest product release.