As has become customary with just about every new product announcement by Google these days, the company’s introduction on Tuesday of its new “Search, plus Your World” (SPYW) program, which aims to incorporate a user’s Google+ content into her organic search results, has met with cries of antitrust foul play. All the usual blustering and speculation in the latest Google antitrust debate has obscured what should, however, be the two key prior questions: (1) Did Google violate the antitrust laws by not including data from Facebook, Twitter and other social networks in its new SPYW program alongside Google+ content; and (2) How might antitrust restrain Google in conditioning participation in this program in the future?
The answer to the first is a clear no. The second is more complicated—but also purely speculative at this point, especially because it’s not even clear Facebook and Twitter really want to be included or what theirprice and conditions for doing so would be. So in short, it’s hard to see what there is to argue about yet.
Let’s consider both questions in turn.
Should Google Have Included Other Services Prior to SPYW’s Launch?
Google says it’s happy to add non-Google content to SPYW but, as Google fellow Amit Singhal