About Me

I ramble about a number of things - but travel experiences, movies and music feature prominently. See my label cloud for a better idea. All comnments and opinions on this blog are my own, and do not in any way reflect the opinions/position of my employer (past/current/future).

16 April 2012

Brin on the threats of Internet Freedom

The Guardian is running a week long set of reporting on "Battle for the Internet", focusing on a number of different topics. The special feature today is based on an interview with Google co-founder Sergey Brin; where Brin sharply criticises Facebook and Apple for their closed, tightly control ed platforms.

Beyond the arguments on the trade-offs between the model adopted by Apple and Google for their respective platforms, Brin's argument only sheds one part of the story. The easy argument - I don't think Google Plus allows for the export of data to Facebook. But there is a wider argument - the fact is, neither Google (or any of its competitors) offer full management of end-user data - such as controlling what data can be processed for ads, how data can be exported and under what circumstances, deletion of data or how data submitted by users (e.g. names, contact details) are managed and maintained. Some of Google's services are better than others, but it is not a universal trait (e.g. contacts can be exported, emails not that easily, but what about YouTube videos).

Some of the difficulty lies in the underlying architecture itself - to make Google's services what they are, data is widely replicated and distributed; some of it lies in the pure volume of data; and some of it lies with the pure legal bureaucracy of it all (with differing laws etc).

Most of what Brin is asking for, is laudable. I don't think it is practically possible - just see whether Google is doing it ...