Google’s Sergey Brin warns of demise of open internet

16 Apr 2012

Eric Schmidt, executive chairman, Google; Larry Page, Google CEO; and Sergey Brin, Google co-founder, in the Google self-driving hybrid car. In December, Google received a US patent to take self-driving cars to the roads

Google co-founder Sergey Brin has hit out against giants such as Apple and Facebook, as well as the rising threat of governments trying to control people’s web access, resulting in the loss of open internet innovation.

In an interview with the Guardian yesterday, Brin spoke about the threat to the freedom of the internet. He drew upon the ascent of apparent “restrictive” walled gardens, citing Facebook and Apple for having such a depth of control over what software can be released on their proprietary platforms.

Brin, whose personal fortune was valued at US$19.8bn last year, making him one of the richest people in the technology sector, also told the Guardian he and Google co-founder and CEO Larry Page would not have been able to create Google if the internet had been domineered by Facebook.

“You have to play by their rules, which are really restrictive,” he told the newspaper. “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.”

Brin also lashed out against the entertainment industry for its attempts to wipe out piracy by lobbying for legislation to block sites from offering pirated material via such bills as SOPA.

In December, Brin already spoke about how SOPA could have a “chilling effect” on internet innovation.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic