The current opinion on the subject is mixed, but the side that believes that is too restrictive does have a fair point. I would have to disagree with them on the basis that the promotion is being handled by a for-profit company looking to bolster its’ own services while providing a benefit to people that want to participate. If a company or any entity that wants promotion via facebook then they join and make a facebook page. This is similar to what Microsoft does for handing out its’ Microsoft certified pc stickers, and what Apple and most digital store owners mandate. They ask for a bit of control so that participation may be given in some form.
In Google’s case they have precedent for requiring such a thing. There have been many tools for transferring Facebook friend lists to Google+ circles. Facebook has consistently blocked those tools. What’s to stop Facebook from doing such a thing with Google News if they decide that they want to fight that feature directly or to just give Google the finger? It helps to protect the company from having to back-peddle on a feature by ensuring that it won’t be taken away by a third party.
Google isn’t completely innocent since they will be gaining many benefits from it, but they do have a solid reason for their current requirements for the use of this feature. It also doesn’t make sense to create another profile mechanism just for Google News.
Unlike IE versus Netscape, there’s plenty of fierce competition in search. With Google’s data liberation features it’s not exactly locking people in. What’s to stop people from building tools that take advantage of the data in those packs so that people can easily hop from Google to competing services? Nothing. Microsoft Office long used its special file formats to help keep Office the dominant office suite software.