Money Matters - Simplified

Google's new search update may be investigated for privacy issues

According to EPIC, Google’s latest search innovation is unfair because it gives greater importance to information from Google Plus than any other social networking site.

A consumer protection government agency of the United States might soon launch a probe into Google’s latest search update which is believed to have issues with privacy and competition.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) has said that it may file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (or FTC) to investigate the new search update by Google which apparently gives the search giant an unfair edge against its competitors and exposes the personal data of users on the Google Plus network.

On Thursday, Google launched a new search feature called Search Plus Your World which lets users search through the Google Plus network for information, and apparently brings up more results from Google Plus than any other social network.

Unfair advantage to Google
According to EPIC, Google’s latest search innovation is unfair because it gives greater importance to information from Google Plus than any other social networking site.

Also, users have expressed concerns over their personal photos and other information showing up in Google searches.

Twitter expresses concern
Popular social networking site Twitter has said that Google’s results are pushing Twitter content down to give greater prominence to content from Google’s own social networking site.

"Twitter has emerged as a vital source of this real-time information, with more than 100 million users sending 250 million Tweets every day on virtually every topic. As we've seen time and time again, news breaks first on Twitter; as a result, Twitter accounts and Tweets are often the most relevant results," said Twitter.

According to Twitter, a search query on Google for "@wwe" threw up results including WWE’s official site and links to related content on Google Plus, but failed to provide any links to Twitter.

"@wwe" happens to be the official Twitter handle for World Wrestling Entertainment.

It is not the first time that Google has landed itself in hot water for its search algorithms.

Google's response
In response, Google said that it is simply making the search results more relevant by including information and content from real people.

"Search plus Your World doesn't change who has access to content, it simply helps people rediscover information they already have access to. We've taken special care with our new features to provide robust security protections, transparency and control for our users," said Google.

It is not the first time that Google has landed itself in hot water for its search algorithms. FTC is already investigating Google for some of its controversial search practices.

If Google searches begin showing more content from the Google Plus network at the expense of its competitors, the very purpose of an unbiased and relevant search result will be lost.

Facebook and FTC refused to comment on the controversy.