Facebook and Apple are the Web’s “restrictive” walled gardens, according to Google co-founder Sergey Brin. He claims both firms, along with Hollywood, anti-piracy advocates and government censors threaten the open Internet, stifling innovation.
Brin is now more worried than he was in the past, he told The Guardian, because “very powerful forces have lined up against the open Internet on all sides and around the world.”
He considered tech giants like Facebook and Apple to be among those forces – they maintain more strict control over what can be done on their technology platforms, and they control access to their users.
“You have to play by their rules, which are really restrictive. The kind of environment that we developed Google in, the reason that we were able to develop a search engine is the Web was so open. Once you get too many rules, that will stifle innovation.”
He went as far as to say that Google would never have been launched if Facebook were dominant.
However, it seems the criticism is not without good reason – Brin and his partner Larry Page would like to make all the information inside Facebook and Apple apps accessible to Google’s search engine.
Moreover, Google’s attempt at social networking, Google+, has way fewer users than the world’s beloved Facebook. The latter has signed up half of Americans with computer access – and more than 800 million members worldwide. And Facebook only continues to grow in momentum – bear in mind its recent purchase of the mobile photo-sharing app, Instagram.
Brin also complained that Facebook is making it difficult for users to move their data to other services, presumably Google+.
“Facebook has been sucking down Gmail contacts for many years,” he said.
As for the Apple smartphone apps, controlled by the company, they also threaten the openness of the Internet.
“There’s a lot to be lost,” he said. “For example, all the information in apps – that data is not crawlable by Web crawlers. You can’t search it.”
At the same time, Apple is one of Google’s main competitors in the smartphone and tablet segments.