Google co-founder Sergey Brin bashed Facebook and Apple as "restrictive," and said he was "more worried than I have been in the past," about the future of the openness of the Internet, in a revealing interview with The Guardian published Sunday.
That said, Brin told the UK newspaper that he was more concerned about Web censorship and other stifling measures taken by certain countries including China, Saudi Arabia and Iran.
Still, Brin's words for Google competitors Apple and Facebook are the sharpest yet by Google's leadership. His comments about Facebook were the most antagonistic:
Brin said he and co-founder Larry Page would not have been able to create Google if the internet was dominated by Facebook. "You have to play by their rules, which are really restrictive," he said. "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."
He criticised Facebook for not making it easy for users to switch their data to other services. "Facebook has been sucking down Gmail contacts for many years," he said.
Brin's comments come amid Google's struggle to compete with Facebook in the social networking space. Google recently redesigned its Google Plus social network to make it more visual, in a bid to attract more users. Google counts 140 million users compared to Facebook's 800 million active users.
Brin was interviewed for the Guardian's week-long series on the "Battle for the Internet."