In the spirit of Don’t Be Evil, I’ve got something to say.
“Don’t be evil” is the informal corporate motto (or slogan) of Google, originally suggested by Google employees Paul Buchheit and Amit Patel at a meeting. Buchheit, the creator of Gmail, said he “wanted something that, once you put it in there, would be hard to take out,” adding that the slogan was “also a bit of a jab at a lot of the other companies, especially our competitors, who at the time, in our opinion, were kind of exploiting the users to some extent.” While the official corporate philosophy of Google does not contain the words “Don’t be evil”, they were included in the prospectus (aka “S-1”) of Google’s 2004 IPO (a letter from Google’s founders, later called the “‘Don’t Be Evil’ manifesto”): “Don’t be evil. We believe strongly that in the long term, we will be better served — as shareholders and in all other ways — by a company that does good things for the world even if we forgo some short term gains.” The sixth point of the 10-point corporate philosophy of Google says “You can make money without doing evil.” The motto is sometimes incorrectly stated as Do no evil.
“Don’t be evil” is said to recognize that large corporations often maximize short-term profits with actions that may not be in the best interests of the public. Supposedly, by instilling a Don’t Be Evil culture, the corporation establishes a baseline for honest decision-making that disassociates Google from any and all cheating. This in turn can enhance the trust and image of the corporation, which may outweigh short-term gains from violating the Don’t Be Evil principles.
While many companies have ethical codes to govern their conduct, Google claims to have made “Don’t Be Evil” a central pillar of their identity, and part of their self-proclaimed core values.
Criticism of Google often includes a reference to “Don’t be evil”.
What Wikipedia won’t – can’t – tell you is that this famous informal corporate motto was actually intended as a cruel mind fuck. It’s true, even though a Google search won’t provide a shred of evidence. Suspicious? I think so!
Their actual motto is a little more mundane. (And greedy.) It reads: If you can do a thing then you should.
The sky’s the limit!
It’s easy to be flippant and make altruistic sounding phrases part of your business when you are small and just starting out. But what happens when you get big? Really big? Like a “one followed by a hundred zeros” big? It becomes just slightly more difficult to leave the big money on the table, eh?
Google has increased in size slightly since the heady days of yesteryear after being founded by two nerdy “super virgins.” (That status is no longer maintained since money changes everything.)
We all know that Google updated their privacy policies recently. The change may seem complicated which is why I’m here to help. I ran the revised policy through the translator. This is what I got back: “We’re going to do what we want.”
Think of it! The possibilities for improving our lives are endless:
- You apply for a job. You’re surprised that the prospective employer refused your resumé? They’re using Google’s new Life Transcribed feature. They’ve got a printout of everything you’ve ever said since you were three years old and received your first iPad as a present. Oops. You didn’t actually want to be employed in this modern society, did you?
- It is the model of convenience as your ex’s cell phone beeps with Google’s Stalker Alert Email Notifications. Google just let them know that you’re in a bar around the corner. Get ready to say hello to an old friend. The motto for this service? “You don’t have to thank us.”
- Insurance companies will get unprecedented access to more information about you, which they will then promptly use to deem you an increased “risk” to justify rate increases. You spend $100 a month on Farmville? Actuary tables say that makes you four times as likely to get into a fender bender. Don’t like it? Too bad. It’s the law and our data can’t be wrong.
- Google’s Secure Workplace product will alert employers to “suspicious” activity on the part of their employees. What did your employee say in email? Chat? On their so-called “secret” blog? Employees have rights, of course, which is why they’ll have to “opt-in” (hahahaha!) as a condition of employment. No opt-in? No job! That preserves the rights of everyone. After all, you have no right to complain if you agreed to it voluntarily. You have the right to be unemployed. You have the right to be homeless. (Soon to be taxed.) You have the right to go hungry. You have the right to die of scurvy, an old-time mariner disease about to make a thrilling resurgence. Take that, vitamin C!
- The divorce rate will skyrocket after Google introduces their new Till Data Do Us Part service, which will allow curious spouses to get email alerts of web history searches. Finally, you’ll get to know that your partner has been looking for. This won’t help the institution of marriage very much.
- Can you even begin to imagine how thankful you’ll feel when you are vacationing and Google’s Location Services notifies you that, based on your current GPS coordinates, there is no way in hell you’ll be able to physically make it in time for that forgotten meeting in the next hour? That is useful information! It’s too late and there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it now, but Google will be there to let you know. Google Pedestrian will automatically show you the best route to take that will increase your odds of being run over by a car. Or Google Maps showing the best way to get trapped in the snow on a secluded mountain road.
Yes, endless possibilities for improving our lives. And, of course, imagine all of those services (and more) with context-based advertisements to enrich our lives.
What other bountiful benefits can you imagine from the cornucopia known as Google? How will your life be enriched?