By Brendan Sasso - 01/11/12 07:19 PM EST
But Twitter slammed the announcement Tuesday and warned that the feature would lead people to Google+ instead of Twitter to find news.
“As we’ve seen time and time again, news breaks first on Twitter; as a result, Twitter accounts and tweets are often the most relevant results,” Twitter said in a statement.
“We’re concerned that as a result of Google’s changes, finding this information will be much harder for everyone. We think that’s bad for people, publishers, news organizations and Twitter users.”
One of the most direct challenges to Twitter is that the feature will allow users to browse the Google+ profiles of prominent authors and musicians. Twitter relies on its popular celebrity users to drive traffic.
The complaint from Twitter comes as Google is already under scrutiny from the Federal Trade Commission for potentially engaging in anticompetitive business practices.
Lawmakers including Sens. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) have questioned whether Google is using its dominant position in online searches to give it an unfair advantage in other markets by ranking its own services — such as Google Maps, Google Travel or YouTube — higher in search results.
Google last year settled charges with the FTC that it misled consumers by automatically opting them in to its now defunct social network, Google Buzz.
The settlement bars Google from misrepresenting its privacy policies and requires the company to submit to outside privacy audits.