Google may be faced with a barrage of questions over user privacy as well as competition when, as expected, it rolls out its new financial service, Google Advisor, in Europe.
The search giant quietly initiated a pilot project called Google Comparison Ads back in 2009 in the US and in the UK; here, the service was limited only to credit cards, whereas the US version allows you to compare mortgages, certificates of deposit, savings as well as offering checking services to manage your finances.
Incidentally, the existing UK URL (Comparison Ads) redirects to the US version which means that the launch of a similar product in the UK could come sooner than we'd expect.
The market for financial comparison in the UK is enormous with the likes of comparethemarket.com, moneysupermarket.com, confused.com and a myriad of household names (Tesco, Argos, Asda) who have also jumped on the bandwagon.
Google already has a foothold here via Beatthatquote.com, a financial comparison website that it purchased back in March 2011 for nearly £38 million and is a direct competitor to the aforementioned outfit.
Many will scrutinise whether Google pushes its own services above its competitors. As of today, searching for credit cards in the UK, for example, brings up Google's own Comparison ad at the very top of the search engine results page.
Then there's also the fact that the service is tied to a user's Google account by default; which means that he has to opt out in order to prevent Google from keeping track of any sensitive financial details. More about Google Advisor below: