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Google's Brin: 'I have much admiration' for Apple, Facebook

The Google co-founder says his thoughts on Internet freedom were "distorted" and that the ensuing media reports regarding Facebook and Apple don't reflect his core beliefs.

Google co-founder Sergey Brin.
Google co-founder Sergey Brin.
James Martin/CNET

Google co-founder Sergey Brin has taken to his Google+ page to clarify his rather unflattering opinions about Facebook and Apple and how the two impact the Internet.

Brin on Sunday was featured in a wide-ranging article in The Guardian, discussing his thoughts on the Internet and freedom across the Web. He touched on a host of topics, including government censorship and entertainment industry crackdowns, but it was his tepid criticism of Apple's and Facebook's closed environments that garnered the most attention.

"You have to play by their rules, which are really restrictive," Brin said of Apple and Facebook. "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."

In a Google+ posting this morning, Brin backtracked a bit on his criticism of Facebook and Apple, saying that the article was "a short summary of a long discussion," adding that he believed his "thoughts got particularly distorted in the secondary coverage" of the story.

"So to clarify, I certainly do not think this issue is on a par with government based censorship," Brin wrote of the Facebook and Apple mentions. "Moreover, I have much admiration for two of the companies we discussed -- Apple and Facebook. I have always admired Apple's products. In fact, I am writing this post on an Imac and using an Apple keyboard I have cherished for the past seven years.

"Likewise, Facebook has helped to connect hundreds of millions of people, has been a key tool for political expression and has been instrumental to the Arab Spring," Brin continued. "Both have made key contributions to the free flow of information around the world."

Still, there's no love lost among those companies. Brin has a vested interest in seeing Facebook open up more of its content to the Web, and Apple's proprietary approach has consistently run against Google's best interests.

In the end, Brin said he believes that keeping the Internet open -- and ensuring governments keep their hands off of it -- is an integral component in the Web's future success.

"But regardless of how you feel about digital ecosystems or about Google, please do not take the free and open internet for granted from government intervention," Brin wrote. "To the extent that free flow of information threatens the powerful, those in power will seek to suppress it."