The Backlash on Sergey Brin’s Comments BeginsBy: Drew Bowling - April 17, 2012
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.”