Google’s Social-Networking Service Said to Be Added to FTC Antitrust Probe - Bloomberg
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is expanding its antitrust probe of Google Inc. (GOOG), the world’s most popular search engine, to include scrutiny of its new Google+ social networking service, according to two people familiar with the situation.
The competition issues raised by Google+ go to the heart of the FTC’s investigation into whether the company is giving preference to its own services and whether that practice violates antitrust laws, said the people, who declined to be identified because the investigation isn’t public.
Cecilia Prewett, an FTC spokeswoman, declined to comment on the widening of the agency’s investigation. Google disclosed the probe on June 24.
Adam Kovacevich, a Google spokesman, said in an e-mail, “the laws are designed to help consumers benefit from innovation, not to help competitors. We believe that our improvements to search will benefit consumers.”
He declined to comment on the investigation.
Google this week rolled out changes to its search engine, calling the revision “Search, Plus Your World,” that features photos, news and comments from Google+. Users who opt for the service see personal information from the social networking service included when they enter a query. The Mountain View, California-based company unveiled the feature on Jan. 10.