Google still doesn't think it did anything wrong, even as the Federal Trade Commission folds its new search features that promote Google+ into its anti-trust investigations of the company. After a formal complaint from the Electronic Privacy Information Center and not so formal grumblings from competitors and bloggers, the FTC will expand its probe to include the Google+ search features, as they indeed demonstrate how Google favors its own product over others, sources told Bloomberg. Google's not pulling back. "The laws are designed to help consumers benefit from innovation, not to help competitors," Google spokesman Adam Kovacevich told Bloomberg. "We believe that our improvements to search will benefit consumers." However, Twitter and Facebook don't seem to think surfacing Google+ results over their networks is all that beneficial to searchers, especially considering it hasn't proven itself as a useful social network, yet.
Since the search features came out both social networks have come out against the search, believing that it compromises their content in favor of Google+'s. Twitter released an official statement, pointing out that Twitter results get pushed down. Whereas Facebook's employees have criticized Google in more covert ways, publicly sharing anti-Search+ blog posts. Facebook engineering manager Pedram Keyani shared Mat Honan's anti-Google, pro-Bing Gizmodo post on Facebook with the following message, for example.
This is a pretty interesting read. Google became something we love because they always focused on speed and giving us the best results. They have made a pretty big departure from that with their most recent change.
They say fear is a great motivator (fear of Facebook and Twitter) but I think in this case it has also clouded their vision.
Google was my first real fulltime job the direction they are moving in makes me sad. I hope they find their way.
To these grumblings Google has given similar responses, saying it gave both Twitter and Facebook the chance to get on board, but neither company wanted to hand over all their data to Google. Earlier this year Twitter relinquished its Google search contract. And Facebook failed to reach an agreement with the company back in 2009. To some, this is just an excuse, as Google has more than enough data to give Twitter and Facebook fair treatment.
Even if Google has some justifications for its moves, these complaints are just a few of the reasons the redesign is unfair, as we explained earlier this week, giving the FTC more than enough reasons to add this into their antitrust probe. Google's involved in a bunch of scandals these days. It's not doing wonders for their fan base. But hey, at least David Beckham's on their side.