Sergey Brin Paints His Kettle Pot Black Over Facebook and Apple

Google versus Facebook versus Apple

Over at UK newspaper The Guardian, Google co-founder Sergey Brin shares his views on the future of the Internet, including web freedom and the restrictive practices of Facebook and Apple.

Brin makes some great points, particularly about the ongoing battles certain web users of the world have due to the firewall nature of their governments.

But on other issues, he clearly drank some alternative reality juice, since he conveniently ignores the fact that Google are just as bad (if not more so) than the two companies he’s taking issue with.

Google’s Short-Term Memory

From the Brin interview:

You have to play by their rules, which are really restrictive. 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.

It’s a point that most web users would agree with – yet it’s a point that Google seem to be doing themselves with their new approaches to how Google products interact with each other, and what you can and can’t do within Google.

Look at Google Plus Your World , for example, that gives more credence to search results with your Google Plus account, versus other social networks or websites.

Or the fact that Google had to “punish itself” when it was revealed there were a bunch of sponsored posts written about Google Chrome, violating Google’s own policy of search result bias (at least that’s Google’s story).

Kinda seems like Google themselves are a little guilty of stifling innovation and closing down the web, when their own platforms are given such prominence by Google.

Adding to that is something Brin says further in the interview, when criticizing Facebook for making it difficult to switch data to other platforms:

Facebook has been sucking down Gmail contacts for many years.

Perhaps – although Facebook (currently) is a private company and, as such, doesn’t need to share squat.

Then again, maybe the real reason Brin is upset is because every new Gmail user is automatically logged as a new active Google Plus user whether they use the platform or not. Google is still seeing their social network struggling to find ground, so any extra numbers (real or otherwise) would ease investor burdens.

Pick The Right Fights

Brin also complains about the garden wall approach of Facebook and Apple and how this inhibits search pulling details about iTunes apps and Facebook statuses, etc.

This in turn leaves less information for Google to share with advertisers.

But is this really surprising, when Google themselves have been found to give preference to their own results and networks? Why should anyone else – especially a competitor – give over information that helps line the pockets of a competing company that gives bias to their own ads and services?

There’s no doubt Google is smarting, especially given the fact that Facebook continues to beat them hands down in pretty much every department, and Apple still has the upper hand in the smartphone and tablet market when it comes to hard profits.

But I can’t help but feel Brin is picking the wrong battle here.

Instead, why not counter with the consumer victories the Google brand has? Or how YouTube aims to be the go-to network for rich multi-social media and ad revenue for channel partners?

There are many ways to counter your competition – unfortunately, examples of where you’re just as bad isn’t a great strategy…

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  1. IMNinjaMan says

    That’s exactly the quote I thought of when I heard this.  The ‘blackest Pot’ of all calling the other kettles black!  LOL.  Google has lost the plot and it starts at the highest levels of their company.  

  2. says

    There’s always two sides no matter how thin you slice it. This is why it’s hard not to look bad when you’re clowning on your competition – any which way you go about it. If they’re bigger and better than you in any category, you’re just hatin’ and if they’re smaller than you, you end up looking petty for beating up on the little guy. Better to keep your mouth shut if you’re not gonna sing praise and spread love.

    • says

       @Lewis LaLanne aka Nerd #2 Especially when you’re as big a target as Google, and folks will be more aware of reasons why you’re treading a fine line in the criticism space…

  3. says

    I’m just not feeling this interview. It’s like his PR team said, “We don’t have areal strategy to deal with the immediate and long term threats t our business. Instead, just go complain about openness and fairness and evil.”
    Because Google  have never done anything that might be considered evil.

  4. says

    I’m just not feeling this interview. It’s like his PR team said, “We don’t have areal strategy to deal with the immediate and long term threats t our business. Instead, just go complain about openness and fairness and evil.”
    Because Google  has never done anything that might be considered evil.

  5. says

    Uh yeah… I think you hit the nail on the head when you wrote about Apple and Facebook not sharing data. If I was them I wouldn’t either – there’s no reason to. What benefit do Apple and Facebook have to gain from sharing data? None that I can see. Here’s why.
    I’m an admitted Apple fan boy. If I want anything Apple provides, namely music, software and hardware I go direct to the source, specifically iTunes or the AppStore. If I can’t quickly find what I want I’ll go to my social networks on Twitter or Facebook (or email) and ask my contacts for recommendations. No Google necessary.
    As for Facebook, well they’re Facebook. People spend a ton of time on Facebook. Also see my comments about Apple above and not finding what I want quickly. Where do I go? Yeah, FB (and Twitter).
    Personally I’ve started to lose faith in Google from a searchers standpoint. It keeps working for me as a marketer so I’ll keep that going until it stops working. However I think that once they started combining Google+ into search results it started to go downhill in quality. Not that people in my circles aren’t sharing quality, it’s just that to ensure I have access to a wider context I feel the search results I receive are limited. I don’t like to be limited.
    And if I need a recommendation from someone I won’t go to Google’s search results, I’ll go straight to the people I know are experts on the subject. And I don’t need Google for that.

    • says

       @RobertDempsey That’s the perfect point about the search being tainted, mate. It’s Google’s raison d’etre, and if you play with that so it’s only really Google that gets the juice, you’re going to lose users fast.
      I already mostly use DuckDuckGo for my search results, and the less Google products I need to use now, the better.
      Cheers, sir!

        • says

           @DannyBrown oh and look, it’s as easy as setting Chrome to use it as my default search engine. It was there all along :)
          So far I’m liking the results, at least when searching for technical things.

  6. Mark Longbottom says

    Would like him to say why since January anyone opening Gmail You Tube and others profiles have to open a G+ account, does make the numbers look good.  Until they release stats on what a G+ user is, not someone only sending Gmails.
    If they would all just go back in their own gardens and play with their own toys an stop trying to recreate each others wheels.  Next stop Google Drive and a massive 5GB free Space, not like Drop Box who will soon have 5GB to add to the other 20GB you can amass by sharing.  Get that  to Google’s  next board meeting, sharing what an interesting concept, people do it because they care.

    • says

       @Mark Longbottom Their number buffering is pretty lame. I deleted my account, and went to check Analytics. But they would’t let me past the screen until I upgraded to Google+ – screw that! Thankfully I still had my cached URL, but that approach of forcing users to sign up – scummy.

  7. says

    Brin is upset because whatever they do with their fake numbers Google is dying. But it’s funny to see the three biggest monopolizers and profilers of the web fighting each others. Hopefully no one will survive the battle but something better and more ethic will arise. Not Microsoft please. There are still ethic business around.
    G is just whining because they are better than them at conning users and/or selling data about them. I don’t like FB and don’t find it useful but if I did and I can do everything from inside FB then there is no need to go somewhere else, and that’s why G is scared, even with their fake G+ numbers. Imagine what will happen, and it will, when FB will have its own version of Adsense. The only chance G has to survive, at least for a while, is to buy FB when the IPO goes live but luckily it would be an infringment of the laws on monopoly so it won’t.
    As for Google being useful or fair: search results are biased since the birth of AdWords and no one in the world believes they will make the web a better place by giving more reliable results through their new updates. A small site above a big one on results. 😀 A fable especially on G which has manipulated search results at its own will since it entered the ads arena. Same thing for their services always rated above competitors and always showing above them on their results. I just hope they won’t come out with their comment system (always at the edge of innovation right?) because this will automatically slash both CommentLuv and Livefyre; that’s the way they do business. Or they could just buy them. Note, I’m still imagining what will happen to Instagram with FB.
    Then there are AdSense publishers rules. The Google dance which makes websites to lose traffic and money almost weekly but keeps their own earning intact. If they were really honest they should drop saying “we’re a service to make the net a better place” and clearly state “we are a business and our goal is to make money, the more we can, and our search engine now is just a tool we use for our own benefit”. I mean, we’ve already understood that.
    It’s a pity because once they were a great service but it’s not the first case power and greed for money ruin businesses or people. Just look at “democratic” governments and politicians almost all over the world. It’s part of human nature.
    Or it’s just that having the power to say “this website must disappear” and doing it with the push of a button at their own will makes them to feel like online Gods and they went a bit out of the line.
    But their “Don’t be evil” motto now is just laughable.
    To summarize in Italy we have a way of saying: “The ox saying horned to the donkey”.
    Clearly what’s above is just my opinion, and we can still have free opinions right? :)

    • says

       @Andrea H. | The Hypnotism Weekly Damn, this is quite possibly one of the best comments I’ve read, mate – awesome stuff!
      The scary thing is, Facebook has waaaay more information on us than Google does and probably ever will, and that’s got to be hurting the Big G. Like you say, their fake Google Plus building is putting them in a difficult position as the truth comes out on how they’re reporting the numbers.
      Now, if Facebook were to add a Search option. Or, if people were to use something like SocialBell:
      Well, things could get really interesting… 😉

      • says

         @DannyBrown Thanks. :)
        You’re right, FaceBook has been an enormous success at stealing/taking/whatever data from users, think about how they’ve used the Like button to register everything you do. Really they are probably the best data-miners of the world, reason why I’ve heard a lot of Agencies love FaceBook.
        And this is the other reason, beside being on the way of Yahoo/MySpace, why Google hates FaceBook, they’ve been better at profiling users. Even if I’m beginning to wonder if G looks inside Gmail accounts. 
        As you said it’s probably time to take a sit, put our feet on the table and have ready beer and chips. 😀

  8. halwits says

    Google’s monopoly in searches is well known whereas Apple has been doing well in smart phones so there is no comparison.
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  9. says

    I so thought I had commentated! =P
    I agree with both @DannyBrown and @sergeybrin I feel the Facebook and Apple models are a bit different than Google but that said all three have a goal, and I will toss in Amazon to try to me your main tech destination. They actually all compete in many ways but not really in their core businesses which each dominates in their own right.
    And if anything Sergey should realize that all three models have millions of detractors and millions of supporters all for different reasons. And they are much different companies. all my music is played on my computer in ITunes. When I road trip I use my IPod. When I run or go to the gym it is my Android. I buy more music from Amazon that Apple. My last laptop from Amazon. I send more emails on GMail and Work Email by far than all my social media communication.
    So why is he complaining? The internet is too big for walled gardens. AOL failed with theirs. Microsoft was thought with Windows and by crushing Netscape with IE they would own the Internet. Wrong. We forget China has a say. India will have a say. They should all be happy with their success today and hope they are still around in 10 years.

    • says

       @HowieSPM Agree, mate – there is a place for everyone, and sometimes I wonder why companies want to take on a seemingly impossible battle. Ego? Investors? Ambition?
      Nothing wrong with ambition, but at least be ambitious without making statements that make you look a little crazy, to say the least.

      • says

         @DannyBrown you nailed it., Ego is first. Investors second. And the second is fueled by the fucking massive money sitting around. Wait til Apple starts using their $97bil. You start viewing the cash in the bank as giving zero return. So you start thinking well if I can just make more money than zero return by investing half assed in me too lines of business who cares.

  10. gigiaktif says

    awesome, this rivalry heats up
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  11. aboutucomm says

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