Google Plus, Google's latest attempt to enter the Social Networking market, was launched back in June 2011. After the catastrophic failure of their previous attempt, Google Buzz, the Search Engine giant seems to have things figured out and usage of the service is increasing rapidly.
Search, Plus Your World
Now Google has taken it one step further and has recently announced that they will start incorporating Google Plus results directly into their search engine. The service is called "Search, Plus Your World" and Google hopes to boost visitors to Google Plus quite significantly with this move. If everything works as planned this might just be the start of Google's reign as the new Social Network king. By integrating Google Plus results directly into search, they will be steering visitors directly to their Social Network which in turn will create more signups for the service.
Chink in the (Google Plus) Chain
The Electronic Privacy Information Center asked U.S. regulators to look into whether Google's new Search Plus feature violates federal antitrust rules and poses consumer privacy concerns.
It would seem, however, that Google's new idea does have some obstacles to overcome. An outcry over privacy issues and anti-trust violations might just stop Google dead in it's tracks, which kind of reminds us of Google Buzz's demise.
Google Buzz was in hot water after they forced the service directly into Gmail which, in its original form, caused Buzz to automatically add contacts to Buzz, possibly exposing business partnerships, or relationships that the company would rather not be known publicly. When you posted a message to Buzz, it was possible that it can be viewed publicly, and the viral nature of the social network could quickly expose your message to friends of friends of friends as others in your network comment.
Although Google addressed these issues, it was too little too late and Google Buzz inevitably crashed and burned.
Now the FTC has filed a complaint against Google stating that Googe is violating a settlement reached in March 31 2011.
"We don't think people would reasonably expect that as a user of Google+ you would expect people to find that information through Google Search"
"You are opted in and have to choose to opt out and that seems to us to be contrary to the consent order that the FTC established.... There's a strong parallel with Buzz--opt in Gmail users to launch a social network service. Now they're using search to promote Google+."
Only time will tell whether Google will come out on top this time around. In the meantime we can only speculate and see what happens in the next couple of weeks.
Do you feel Google is violating anti-trust laws and the privacy of their users? Leave a comment!