SAN FRANCISCO--He wasn't on the program, but nobody was disappointed that Google co-founder Sergey Brin showed up at the Web 2.0 Summit on Thursday afternoon and agreed to sit down for an onstage chat with conference organizer John Battelle.
Battelle said Brin had been extended an invitation to speak but turned it down, to which Brin joked, "I didn't say no, I just never responded."
But it was an appropriate time to hear from one of the minds behind Google because one of the most evident trends at the conference is that the search market is heating back up. On Wednesday alone, Microsoft announced a partnership with Twitter and Facebook for real-time search results, Google announced a similar deal with Twitter, and Google executive Marissa Mayer previewed a new "social search" feature in Google Labs.
Brin talked about the new competition with a "bring it on" attitude. "I think what Bing has reminded us is that search is a very competitive market," he said. "There are many interesting companies out there." He said he's disappointed that Yahoo is retreating from the fight and planning to strike a deal with Microsoft instead.
"I think Yahoo had a number of innovations there, and I wish they would continue to innovate in search," Brin said. He didn't go into specifics.
Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz had been slated to speak at the conference on Wednesday but canceled at the last minute, citing a bad case of the flu.