FTC widens Google probe

The US watchdog, the FTC is widening its anti-trust probe of the “do no evil” search outfit Google, suspecting that it might be up to a bit more evil than previously thought.

What appears to have got he FTC’s goat is the Google+ social networking service, which the FTC thinks might get preferential treatment from the search engine.

According to Bloomberg,  quoting its special secret sauces, the FTC is investigating to see if Google’s own services get treated better by its search engine algorithm.

Google introduced changes to its search engine so that results feature photos, news and comments from Google+, naming the new function “Search, Plus Your World.”

If you opt for Google+ you will see see personal information about friends included from the service when a query is entered.

However, the move has angered privacy groups and competitors who said the inclusion of Google+ results unfairly promotes the company’s products over other information on the Web.

The Electronic Privacy Information Centre asked the FTC to look into Google+ last week saying it was concerned about the search engine’s “business practices.”

Twitter has moaned that changes in Google’s search engine could make finding Twitter posts on news events harder.