updated 04:50 pm EDT, Thu April 19, 2012
Yandex co-founder critizes Google's products
The co-founder of Russia's top search engine Yandex has gone on record to criticize Google's Android and Chrome products, UK paper The Guardian reported. Ilya Segalovich called the Android OS a "strange combination of openness and not openness," while the Chrome browser was said to be anti-competitive. Segalovich's comments, in turn, were prompted by Google co-founder Sergey Brin's opinions on the threats to the open Internet.
Segalovich challenged Brin to explain its own "semi-open" approach before accusing others of putting an end to an open Internet. Brin said an open Internet is in jeopardy from governments as well as private companies, going as far as to mention Facebook and Apple.
The Russian CEO, whose search engine has a 62 percent share compared to Google's 25 in Russia, said Google coerces users to pick its search engine rather that those from Yahoo, Bing, and Yandex.
"Things are definitely going where more and more control is in the hands of platform providers. It's interesting that it's not only mobile, but it's also about browsers," Segalovich said. "That is a part of the open and closed issue, in my head. If you own the browser, the browser is the platform then the search is yours."
Segalovich agreed, however, that closed platforms aren't good and it's important that users have a choice. He also believes governments pose the greatest and most urgent threat to the world wide web.
Phone makers that have not signed deals to use Android are only able to offer basic apps to their users, Segalovich said.
Because users cannot contribute to Android's source code, it's semi-open, the Yandex co-founder said. Apps not downloaded from Android Market (now Google Play) or a similar app store won't work on the so-called open-source OS, he continued. The Android 4.0 software doesn't allow search engines other than Google's to be used to search for apps, he also pointed out. It is possible to visit other search engines once in the browser, however, like GetJar.