Google Search Plus Targeted by EPIC Complaint to FTC
Google's Search Plus, which bakes Google+ data into search results, is the Electronic Privacy Information Center's target in a letter to the FTC.Google's new "Search, plus your world" social search feature, which layers search-results pages with information from Google+, is already attracting considerable attention from privacy advocates. The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) has sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), asking for an investigation into the new feature. When activated as a part of Google Search, the "Search, plus your world" feature presents any Google profiles and Google+ pages related to specific topics, as well as the user's own Picasa photos (and those of their Google+ followers). Users can also search people they follow in Google+ via the search autocomplete function of the search box and directly in search results. It does not surface results from Twitter or Facebook, two competing social networks, in the same manner.
EPIC also held a conference call with media Jan. 12, during which Marc Rotenberg, the group's executive director, expressed concern that Google's enhanced search is emphasizing "its own content over the content of others," and could intrude on a previous privacy agreement between the search-engine giant and the FTC.