Open is a word so overused and abused that it is now impossible not to switch off when yet another tech titan or politico comes along with their very own interpretation of what the term should actually mean.
But it's also a word that Google seems unable to resist repeating.
Sergey Brin, co-founder of the Chocolate Factory, took to his Google+ account to set the record straight about a puff piece article on the Guardian earlier this week that reeled off some of his thoughts about "internet freedom" that – to him, at least – became "particularly distorted in the secondary coverage".
Readers might have noticed that The Register wasn't at all excited about Brin's disappointment in Facebook's closed network.
Google has said much of the same thing before. And it was hardly a revelation to discover one ad company dissing another ad company by using an opinion wrapped in the Tim Berners-Lee-backed notion of an "open web" universally accessible to all-comers.
Brin wanted to clarify, via Google+, that he actually really, really admires Apple and Facebook – the apparent kings of the "ecosystem" lock-in.
"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. Both have made key contributions to the free flow of information around the world," he said.
But he is a concerned man. Why? Because without the "open web" there wouldn't be enough breakthrough companies that could develop their apps on a great platform, presumably such as Google's very own search estate, whose algorithms are of course closely guarded by Mountain View.
So what was my concern and what about Google for that matter? I became an entrepreneur during the 90’s [sic], the boom time of what you might now call Web 1.0. Yahoo created a directory of all the sites they could find without asking anyone for permission. Ebay quickly became the largest auction company in the world without having to pay a portion of revenue to any ISP. Paypal became the most successful payment company and Amazon soared in e-commerce also without such tolls or any particular company’s permission.
Today, starting such a service would entail navigating a number of new tollbooths and gatekeepers.
Vulture Central thinks what this really means is that Brin, just like Larry Page and Eric Schmidt, is pissed off with the competition. After all, Google – with its search engine – is arguably the biggest troll of all of the contenders squeezing under that bridge. ®