Well, there are certainly some strong indications in there, but again, lacking definitions of who falls foul of the demarkation.
It seems that while we ask Does SEO=Spam, Brin instead is asking Does SEO=Evil, and indeed, he seems to feel that anyone deliberately manipulating results (beyond making sites search friendly) is paving the road to hell (perhaps with the good intentions that are traditionally said to provide such paving).
I ask Brin to imagine, for a moment, running his company's evil twin, a sort of anti-Google. "We would be doing things like having advertising that wasn't marked as being paid for. Stuff that violates the trust of the users," he says, describing a site that sounds not unlike the pay-for-placement search site Overture. "Say someone came looking for breast cancer information and didn't know that some listings were paid for with money from drug companies. We'd be endangering people's health."
The anti-Google might also be more amenable to the growing business of "optimization," the altering of Web sites so that they rank higher in search engine results. For a fee, there's help for a Dallas plumber who's unhappy that his site is on the 17th page of results when someone types "Dallas plumber" into Google. An optimizer will tweak the site in such a way that boosts it to, say, the 3rd page of results.
There we have the crux of the problem SEs will always have with SEO. SEO is the art of gaining a position in the rankings that was otherwise unmerited
. Even were SEOs mostly ethical folks who'd never promote a commercial site for terms that are clearly public interest, there'd always be a sort of black-market - where anyone can buy high rankings for a price.
Google refuse all alcohol and tobacco advertising, naturally including AdWords campaigns. Google also rejects advertisers whose links take Google users to pages that feature pop-ups (which caused quite a stir). The question is though, can an SEO make a nonsense of that through optimising such company's sites for Google rankings? If offered hundreds of thousands of dollars per year, how many SEOs would refuse?
And so, we have Google seeing evil in SEO, and seeing that even the most ethical SEOs are paving that road to hell, by showing methods and possibilities to all others.
Every month, when Google updates its index and its mix of algorithms, it rakes a disruptive claw across the optimizers' systems. In the industry, the monthly shuffle is known as the Google Dance, and Brin doesn't mind letting on that if Google ends up dancing all over the optimizers, so much the better. "When we change and improve our technology, things get shuffled around," Brin says, "and sometimes it has a disproportionate effect on optimization sites."
the real problem with Massa is that he's simply the termite Brin is able to see. There are thousands more behind the wall, invisibly boring away at the very structure of Google's house. "It's easy to become overly obsessed with those kinds of things," Brin admits.