Google co-founder Sergey Brin has expressed amazement at resistance to the Internet giant's efforts to digitize the world's books and lamented a deal to have Microsoft handle online search at Yahoo!
Brin's comments came during a surprise appearance on-stage at a Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco.
"It's a shame," Brin said during a chat with the Summit's John Battelle on Thursday.
"I think Yahoo! had a number of innovations there and I wish they would continue to innovate in search."
Brin declined to say whether he opposes the pending deal for Microsoft's new Bing search engine to handle queries at Yahoo! websites. He said he has given Bing a try.
"I use all search out there," Brin said. "I think Bing has reminded us that search is a very competitive market. There are probably a few dozen startups doing interesting things."
Brin said Google focuses on figuring out things to do with technology advances such as smaller, more powerful microprocessors to work.
"I've been surprised at the level of controversy there is about digitizing the world's books and making them available (online)," Brin said.
"Ultimately, these books have great information in them, but we need a way to be able to allow people to access them and to pay authors and publishers for those books."
He added that he is optimistic Google's mission to digitally archive the written works of the world will succeed.
Brin also defended Google against traditional news industry titans that accuse the Internet firm of cashing in by indexing stories in search results pages featuring online advertising.
"The world is evolving and business models are changing," Brin said. "They are sort of making a leap that Google is causing that or somehow stealing from them. I don't agree with that conclusion but I agree with the pain."
He added that he believes it is important that newspapers survive.
(c) 2009 AFP