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US/EU: Is Google+ headed for an antitrust probe?

 |  May 5, 2014

As reports continue to track the plummeting popularity of search giant Google’s attempt at social networking, Google+, some experts are questioning whether the network is headed for an antitrust investigation.

The speculation follows just days after Google social media vice president Vic Gundotra announced he plans to leave the firm amid criticism of Google+.

While the social network has attracted 540 million users, according to reports, that figure does not reflect the network’s popularity because anyone who uses Google’s email service, Gmail, are all but forced to sign up for Google+. Further, reports say, a decision was made last year that bars anyone without a Google+ account to post a comment on Google-owned YouTube.

What’s more, Google bars any add-ons for the social network that are not officially sanctioned, a move reports say harms innovation. Add-ons that are accepted are most often connected to other Google products.

These features not only made Google+ user-unfriendly, but reports say the network could risk antitrust probes both in the US and EU thanks to lock-ins of Google products with the network and concerns over user privacy. No investigations have been launched, however.

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