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.