Federal Trade Commission is going to probe Google+ in antitrust investigation. Google’s web property is going to come under scrutiny in an ongoing antitrust investigation by the United States regulators. As per Bloomberg, the Federal Trade Commission will probe into Google’s business practices by focusing on Google+. This news comes few days after Google announced that its search engine will include public data from Google+ in search results.
The Commission is currently looking into allegations that Google favors its own products in search results. In March 2011, a settlement was reached between FTC and Google that FTC will be authorized to order third party audits of Google’s privacy practices once every two years for the next two decades. On 10th December, Google announced a new search feature called `Search plus your world’. This allows the search engine to pull data from users’ connections in Google+ to make searching the web a personal experience. On 12th December, The Electronic Privacy Information Center filed a letter of complaint with the FTC raising concerns about the new feature’s effect on the competing web services and the impact it would have on the users’ privacy.
Although the data from Google+ users is not displayed publicly, Google’s changes make the personal data of users more accessible. The users may come across an unexpected photo or post from a friend. This could be shared again with the world and things that people may have forgotten to share with others may begin to show up suddenly through ordinary Google searches. This may be unfair to people and unfair also to other services.