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Google's Brin: Apple, Facebook threats to freedom

updated 03:55 pm EDT, Mon April 16, 2012

Brin claims competitors as threat to web

Google co-founder Sergey Brin used an interview late Sunday to single out companies he saw as potential threats to the Internet. Along with singling out actual censorship and an aggressive media industry, he informed The Guardian that proprietary environments, such as Apple's iOS and Facebook's web code, were considered dangers. They risked isolating information, Brin argued, and an open search tool like Google couldn't have existed if sites like Facebook had been the norm.

The executive was short on what about Apple was an issue, although he singled out the dislike of native apps, since it meant Google couldn't get access to that information. "All the information in apps -- that data is not crawlable by web crawlers," Brin said. "You can't search it."

Facebook was considered the more egregious offender by Brin, although he also revealed business interests in pushing for Facebook's change. The social network's data sharing was one-way, as it could import from services like Google's but would never export out. Facebook information is often only generally indexed and isn't given as direct access.

The comments on threats to Internet freedom come with a degree of irony for Google. It has lately been stressing a tight link between its Google+ social network and the rest of its services, making it difficult to both use Google+ and maintain the freedom of anonymity elsewhere without having multiple logins or losing features. Android has also faced complaints about being a tool for oppressive governments rather than against them, as it's the officially endorsed mobile OS of the Chinese government and otherwise does little to stop censorship or monitoring of citizens.

by MacNN Staff



  1. makemineamac

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I don't know where to start with this guy...

    So I won't. Oh yeah, just this: "Don't be evil!"

  1. climacs

    Joined: Dec 1969


    repeat after me:

    ha. ha. ha.

  1. chefpastry

    Joined: Dec 1969



    These google guys really get on my nerves.

  1. Bobfozz

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Brin is an idiot!

    Does anyone, anyone, believe HIS c***? Google IS a one way street. Remember when someone used Google to find out things about the big shots AT Google and the hissy fit they had? is he worried about THEIR business model? Who else really cares? Invasion of privacy is really what they want and they get it badly enough with Gmail.

  1. Flying Meat

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Jockey was also mentioned

    as that brand also does not allow web crawler searches.

  1. Makosuke

    Joined: Dec 1969



    He's absolutely right: They're threats to freedom.

    So long as you define "freedom" as "things that Google can scrape" and "threats" as "things Google cannot make money off of."

    Don't get me wrong--I hate Facebook and its walled garden--but this is so obviously self-serving it's sort of hilarious. And complaining about lack of "freedom" with precompiled applications borders on preposterous. Not that Google wouldn't do it--they hate Microsoft Word and Photoshop, too, because they can't sell ads on those "platforms" either.

    I guess he's covering the other half of the Google moral superiority implosion. Schmidt has willfully thrown himself into the role of creepy dude who wants to know everything about you and have his computer algorithms rule your life. Now we have Brin covering the self-serving corporate bloviator who wants a cut of profit from everything, everywhere.

  1. Geoduck

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Mr. Pot...

    meet Mr. Kettle...

  1. mgpalma

    Joined: Dec 1969



    um yea, pretty much Makosuke nailed it.

    Nuff said.

  1. facebook_UpChuck

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Apr 2012


    comment title

    Obviously Googles definition of 'freedom of speech' has a very different meaning than that of the Constitution. Given that they can dish out results that ARE very biased politically. Case in point, the recent searches for Santorum that hit every negative site for pages.

  1. graxspoo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Oh please.

    Hey facebook_UpChuck, Santorums problems have nothing to do with a political bias at Google, and everything to do with his clueless IT department. Suggesting Google is tweaking results based on their political leanings shows a complete lack of understanding of how their search algorithm works. They simply index and serve far too many pages to sit there are tweak things based on political bias. Google's results on a variety of things, including how popular a given site is, and how many links in and out of a site there are. Google can't help it if people are more interested in laughing at Santorum than in supporting him.

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