Sergey Brin: Facebook and Apple’s Walled Gardens Are A Threat To The Open Internet

Posted Apr 15, 2012

Sergey Brin gave a rather candid interview in The Guardian. Brin had warned that there were “very powerful forces that have lined up against the open internet on all sides and around the world” and that he was more worried than he had been in the past. Among the forces he listed was Apple, Facebook, SOPA, PIPA, and the movie industry.

Brin, 38, said that Facebook and Apple have restrictive walled gardens that tightly control what software can be released on their platforms. Brin also said that he was concerned about the efforts countries like China, Saudi Arabia, and Iran censors and restricts the Internet.

Brin said that Facebook and Apple having their own proprietary platforms and access to their users risks stifling innovation and balkanizing the web. “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.”

Brin said that him and Larry Page would not have been able to create Google if the Internet was dominated by Facebook back then. You would have to play by their rules, which was really restrictive. Even though Facebook has been “sucking down Gmail contacts for many years,” the social network has not made it easy for users to switch their data to other services.

After bashing on Facebook and Apple a bit, Brin decided to focus on the entertainment industry. He said that the industry was “shooting itself in the foot, or maybe worse than in the foot” because they were lobbying for legislation to block websites offering pirated material. PIPA and SOPA would have led to the U.S. using the same technology China and Iran has been criticized for using.