Google’s “search + your world” to get investigated by the FTC
Date added: 15 Jan 2012
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Google's social search may be prioritizing its own products over general results
Last week, Google announced in its blog a new search feature called “Search plus your world” that it’s aimed at bringing social results into your search results. There have been mixed reactions, ranging from delight to utter rejection, and even an antitrust investigation.
Results that are more relevant for you?
Most of us resort to Google as soon as we need information on any subject. Ever since 2009 you could add a “social filter” to your search, in order to get results from your friends or acquaintances in social networks.
So what’s so different now? That option is activated by default. This means that every time you search for something, social media results will be prioritized over the rest. Of course you can opt out selecting the right properties, or even signing out of your profile, but if you’re just trying to do a “quick search”, it would be an inconvenience.
Google claims that they are only trying to personalize your search even further, and there are times when social search is very useful. Social context is important in some cases: If you are looking for a specific person, results that are connected to you will pop up first, for example. However, this is not the majority of times, how often do you prefer a Google+ status update over any other result?
The FTC does not trust Google
Reportedly; The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is expanding its antitrust probe of Google to include investigation on whether or not the popular search engine is prioritizing its own products over general results.
Some are objecting that this feature is pushing results from Google+, YouTube and other Google products over equally relevant results from Facebook and Twitter. Of course, this seems designed specially to increase the traffic of Google’s social network and make Google Plus brand pages a new necessity for every company. However, Google has stated that this will improve the customer’s experience, and that laws are designed to help consumers with innovation, not to help competitors to succeed.
In the end, the only thing that matters for the user is relevance and, the way social search is currently handled, this could be harder to achieve.
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