Facebook and Apple 'will stifle innovation' online, says Google

Facebook and Apple 'stifle innovation' online
Google bristles at online walled gardens

The restrictive rules put in place by companies like Facebook and Apple are threatening web freedom, according to Sergey Brin, one of Google's co-founders.

Speaking to The Guardian, Brin spoke of his fears for the internet as governments try to control it, militant anti-piracy measures threaten creativity and the growing trend for 'walled gardens' like those patrolled by Facebook and Apple.

"Very powerful forces… have lined up against the open internet on all sides and around the world," he said in an interview. "I am more worried than I have been in the past. It's scary."

Walls come down

Brin went on to criticise the walled gardens cultivated by networks like Facebook and proprietary systems like Apple's App Store, saying that they fly in the face of Google's openness and the standards it was built upon:

"You have to play by their rules, which are really restrictive. The kind of environment that we developed Google in, the reasons 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."

At which point we were all "Yeah! Right on! Peace and love!' - but then he said:

"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."

Ah. Right. Placards down. This seems to suggest that Google thinks web freedom is the same as web searchability, something Google just so happens to have a vested interest in. That's not quite what we had in mind.

From The Guardian

News Editor (UK)

Former UK News Editor for TechRadar, it was a perpetual challenge among the TechRadar staff to send Kate (Twitter, Google+) a link to something interesting on the internet that she hasn't already seen. As TechRadar's News Editor (UK), she was constantly on the hunt for top news and intriguing stories to feed your gadget lust. Kate now enjoys life as a renowned music critic – her words can be found in the i Paper, Guardian, GQ, Metro, Evening Standard and Time Out, and she's also the author of 'Amy Winehouse', a biography of the soul star.