One of the lead developers behind the Firefox browser has accused Google of abusing its powerful position in the search market to promote its growing range of products.
In a blog posting this week, Blake Ross argued that Google was wrong to include plugs for its Calendar, Blogger and Picasa at the top of search results for terms like 'calendar', 'blogging' or 'photo sharing'.
"This is clearly bad for competitors, and it's also a bad sign for Google," wrote Ross, 21, who has been one of the driving forces behind Firefox.
As Ross pointed out, many other Web companies also cross-promote their services. However, he argued that Google — with its motto of "Don't be evil" — should hold itself to a higher standard.
"Google is predicated on the idea that the democratic structure of the Web will push the cream to the top. Search for "photo sharing" and you should already get the highest quality services. According to Google, Picasa is not one of them," said Ross.
You can read Ross's full posting on his blog.
It sparked a lively debate on tech web site Slashdot
. Some posters backed Ross, agreeing that users could lose confidence in Google if they perceive it is not giving truly impartial information. Others, though, insisted that Google was acting within its rights and treats its rivals fairly.