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Google co-founder Sergey Brin cites Apple's App Store as a threat to online freedom

Facebook also in hot water

Product: Google news | Manufacturer: Google
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Google co-founder Sergey Brin has revealed in an interview with The Guardian that he believes "very powerful forces" are trying to restrict freedom on the internet.

"I am more worried than I have been in the past," he said. "I thought there was no way to put the genie back in the bottle, but now it seems in certain areas that the genie has been put back in the bottle."

Governments in countries like China and Saudi Arabia have already managed to successfully restrict internet use in ways Brin didn't think was possible, but the Google co-founder is also worried about popular "walled garden" platforms - namely, Facebook and Apple's App Store.

"There's a lot to be lost. For example, all the information in apps - that data is not crawlable by web crawlers. You can't search it," he said.

"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."


Reviewer photo
Anthony Usher 16 April 2012
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Dec 2010
Post count:
Excelcius | 01:16 - 17 April 2012
The applification of the web via the app store is what Google really sees as a threat (to its profit margins !) apps/services like Yelp amongst many others are being used more and more to access specific content instead of the traditional web browser. Added to that Google can't search the app store so they can't subtly influence the search results in favour of their own services, and as such these apps are nibbling away at Goggles monopoly of the web.

Thats the problem Goggle thinks it owns the web or worse it thinks it is the internet, and in return for letting us all use it for free, by which I mean both their search engine and the sites using Google adsence, they want access to all our personal data as well. As a result it sees any threat to its control of the roads leading into the web, as a threat to the freedom of the web itself. or at least thats how they want us to see it. The web belongs to all of us not Google
Nov 2011
Post count:
Chivas77 | 19:36 - 16 April 2012
Most of the content in that Guardian article is about governments all over the globe controlling the internet for their own ends, it's not just the usual suspects like China and Iran, but increasingly the USA and the UK are also trying to push forward measures in order to "control" the internet. It's one of the most important issues we are facing here in the West. The article wasn't an attack on Apple.

As much as I love my iPhone 4S, I really don't see Apple as any kind of threat to the internet. Apple have almost zero influence on the internet, the OSX version of Safari has a microscopic browser market share, add in iOS and it's still somewhere around 5% in total, when compared to Chrome, IE and Firefox, and I guess there's iCloud with it's pretty awful mail service that no one uses. That's about it. Compare that to Google (search, Youtube, Chrome, mail which nearly every single person uses), Facebook ( 800 million users!), Microsoft (Live mail, search, browser, Office/Outlook etc), these are far more influential on the current state of the internet

I don't even buy into this whole "apps" argument, Apple products are premium products, pretty much every projection out there shows that iPhones will never get much more than 20% of the total smartphone market globally, if anything all the projections show a stagnation and even a possible decline by 2014-2015 in terms of market share (Apple will sell more devices as the market gets bigger, but overrall market share will decline).
Sure Apple will sell a few iPads too, but again in terms of pure numbers it's a tiny blip of people using iOS to access the internet, it will continue to grow but because there are cheaper ways to get online it's just never going to dominate.

I think Facebook is actually far more of a potential problem for the internet than anything from Apple or the Appstore, 800 million users on a closed platform, it could well break 1 billion users by the end of this year. That's huge.
Mar 2012
Post count:
Edward CORE | 16:33 - 16 April 2012
Really? Google is a Internet giant that happens to be Apple's biggest competitor on the mobile front, but for a reason. Apple has come with something that's just too big to come around, so if you have to take on it, you have to have some balls, and that's what Android is. In fact android is the alternative to a mobile world where Nokia and Motorola used to be kings. Apple changed it so radically that it is the standard, so the others, including Android are alternatives. But Google is not used to be the other. It is the one single search mechanism, it is even the popular expression to search anything on the web (go and "Google" it), so it really makes then to make this stupid assumptions that the web is not open. It is open, and it has been more than ever, creating opportunities that nobody could ever foreseen 10 years ago. What Brin said is nonsense and humiliating for such company as Google. The same is true for Facebook, they have an massive network that is years ahead Google+ will ever achieve. But at the end of the day, we all know it, and it is even redundant to say that, it is all about money. But, sadly, greed over evolution is a common misplacement these days. For the best, Google should stick with what they do better and be happy they are worthy alternatives to what are to of the greatest names in today's technology scenario, because that won't change too early.