The Tech News Blog

April 16, 2012

Google’s Brin Bashes Hollywood, China, Facebook as Enemies of Internet Freedom

Sergey Brin

Google co-founder Sergey Brin unloaded on Facebook, Apple, anti-piracy advocates, and government censors in an exclusive interview with the U.K.'s Guardian newspaper published Sunday. Brin referenced "very powerful forces that have lined up against the open Internet on all sides and around the world," telling the paper that he didn't think it would be possible to create the company he founded with Larry Page in today's climate.

Brin, who reportedly took a lead role in confronting China over Internet censorship in 2010, said he had been proven wrong in his belief that it wouldn't be possible for an authoritarian government to restrict the Internet for very long.

"I thought there was no way to put the genie back in the bottle, but now it seems in certain areas the genie has been put back in the bottle," he told the The Guardian.

Government censorship like China's, which has been emulated by other regimes around the world, combined with efforts by the entertainment industry to control the flow of information over the Internet, and what he criticized as the "restrictive" practices of Facebook and Apple have left Brin troubled, he told the newspaper.

"I am more worried than I have been in the past. It's scary," he said.

Brin said the amount of control Facebook and Apple exercise over their online platforms and user base was "stifling innovation" and "balkanising the Web."

April 6, 2012

Google Co-Founder Sergey Brin Spotted Wearing Project Glass

google glasses brin

The reaction from the technology community to Google's Project Glass augmented reality glasses video earlier this week ranged from the amazed to the overtly cynical. But one group of naysayers in particular—those who thought the glasses were merely the product of a fancy concept video—appear to be wrong. Google co-founder Sergey Brin was recently seen at an event wearing Project Glass, and there's photographic proof.

Blogger Robert Scoble caught Brin wearing the glasses at an event for The Foundation Fighting Blindness (see photo at left). Posting to his Google+ page, Scoble said, "[Brin] quickly told me it is a prototype. I saw a bluish light flashing off of his right eyeball. I could only guess that my Google+ profile flashed up, or maybe some PR voice said 'stay quiet' or something like that. But the glasses are real. Very light looking. Most of the people around us had no idea that these glasses are pretty special."

This will undoubtedly come as a surprise to many people in the tech and blogging community who assumed the video was as fictional as Microsoft's slick Productivity Future Vision video. Well-known, Apple-focused blogger John Gruber wrote, "Google's transition into the new Microsoft is now complete: fancy-pants sci-fi concept video to promote stunningly awkward augmented reality glasses."

Blogger Joe Stracci responded to the video by writing, "…this isn't a product that is in beta testing, alpha testing, or even a concept model phase. It's just a somewhat cool video." Gruber picked up on Stracci's blog post and added, "Let's pretend Google could actually build and ship something exactly like what they show in their concept video. Think about the data Google is collecting about the video's protagonist."