Google Faces More Regulatory Inquiry with Search Plus

Lora Bentley

I was just thinking it's been too long since I've seen anything about patent disputes. But then I found this little gem. PCMag.com reported last week that Google purchased 187 more patents from IBM.

 

Obviously, the smartphone wars are not over, but if the descriptions of some of these patents are accurate, Google is set to change the social networking game. One, for instance, covers " a system for using semantic networks to build a social network." Google+ has steadily gained traction and membership since it launched last summer.

 

But the company's "Search Plus" feature, which adds a social networking element to the search function, will likely have to pass regulatory muster before it is allowed to stick around for long. The Electronic Privacy Information Center asked the Federal Trade Commission to include the new features in its probe of Google's search practices. There are also questions regarding whether Search Plus violates a privacy settlement agreement to which Google is currently bound.

 

Twitter isn't taking kindly to the new developments, either, but that's to be expected given the two companies compete in this particular area. Twitter's general counsel tweeted that the advent of Search Plus was "a bad day for the Internet" and indicated it is likely that not all Google employees are on board with the changes.



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