The Backlash on Sergey Brin’s Comments Begins

    April 17, 2012
    Drew Bowling
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You didn’t really think that Sergey Brin was going to get away scot-free for those Guardian comments about how Apple and Facebook were guilty of obstructing open development of technology while Google was the true bastion of creativity and liberty on the internet, did you?


In this corner of the ring, you will find accusations directed at Google that, while Sergey Brin is talking about how Google is the only genuine proponent of net freedom and invention, Matt Cutts is on the other side of the coin talking about how Google reserves the right to remove or demote a website based on terms that the company itself it defines. In other words, the argument is that this contrast smacks of hypocrisy.

Truly, Google is a business who really needs to not suffer the whims and concerns of anybody and it’s really just free to do what it wants in terms of its search engine. Sometimes that has consequences. However, it need not try to create a level playing field for its direct competitors when it was Google who paved that very playing field in the first place. It’s not really in Google’s best interest to provide the means for rival companies like Apple and Facebook to move ahead so, sure, Google should reserve the right to demote sites as it sees fit within a reasonable basis.

Besides, it’s not as if Google’s just demoting sites on whims. The company claims that the course of action is only a response for whenever companies try to game the system in order to get their site promoted higher within search results. Even when it was found that Google was artificially elevating search results for its own browser, Chrome, it responded by demoting itself in search results.

Brin sees Google as a noble company, and that’s not surprising since he helped found it. Nobody wants to believe their brainchild grew up to be Lex Luthor when we’re all hoping for Superman. But he does seem to be having a pollyanna moment here in how he really does seem to believe what he told the Guardian, that Google is the hero of this tale. Honestly, if I got to run around showing off my new Project Glass specs, I’d probably think the company I created and work for had hung the moon, too.

Objectively, as things go, Google and its competitors have done more good things than bad things. It’s easy to focus on the negative things because that’s what resonates within us and affects us most immediately. Google could do better, though, just as Facebook and Apple could, as well. And yes, if you’re going to cast the proverbial stones in the glass house as Brin has been accused of, there will assuredly be some blowback as a result.

Google’s in-house mantra has been said to be “Don’t be evil” but sometimes the company, whether deserved or not, is often projected as “Does no good.”

  • http://www.designram.com FU

    I was standing on the subway platform, and on the news monitor they said Google’s Art project made 3D version of the White House for everyone. They brought search, maps, apps, docs and much more — tell me what not.

    While Google indexes thousands of pages on websites we build, Bing has indexed something like 3 in a couple months. While Google brought tens of thousands of people, Bing brought eight.

    What are you talking about, Apple, Facebook, Oracle? Facebook sucks bing in the corner. It’s a temporary fluke that will die right after the IPO. Apple and Oracle only care about how to squeeze more money out of us. Which other company has done as much for us – ordinary Internet users – as Google? None.

    How much did they do for designers/developers, with APIs and fonts, leaving alone the only coherent search results? How many millionaires did they make with AdSense, leaving alone the swarm of casual publishers making a few bucks now and then? How about we compare that to ANY tech co, including Microsoft?

    Google is the best thing that happened to the web since its invention. If there is someone on the forefront of web development — it’s Google. If there’s a company that routinely introduces unheard-of super-awesome innovations — it’s Google.

    Yes, large banks like Oracle and kids like Apple. But only Google comes and says: “Guys, you can now ‘walk’ on Mars. For free.”

    I am a lefty, I believe corporations steal for short term profit and corrupt the system. But when it comes to Google I say every penny of their billions is well deserved.