Google: Do No Evil (Sorta)

Much has been made of Google’s squeaky clean image and it’s “Do No Evil” philosophy. Ultimately, it’s a great (but risky) way to build user/consumer trust. If Google really believes that as long as they play nice they’ll continue to flourish then everyone is happy.

The problem isn’t with Google’s philosophy. There are plenty of successful companies out there that succeeded by providing good value to others. This is a good thing. The problem really lies with Google’s self-proclaimed altruism. Multi-billion dollar corporations should not be going around telling people how wonderful they are. Plenty of public relations firms would be glad to let that message seap into the collective consciousness of the masses without blasting it out on a megaphone.

But there’s another issue with Google’s philosophy. Is placing ads in RSS feeds evil? Is bundling Google Desktop with Winzip installations evil? Is caching the entire web (and thus breaking a bunch of web apps) evil? Not really. “Evil” is a pretty strong word. Annoying? Frustrating? Nagging? Intrusive? Of course they are. Google is a fast growing company that is going to continue to scramble to find ways to justify its valuation. The results will probably not be evil, but they sure as hell won’t make us think of butterflies and daisies.

In the end, Google is a thriving business, no more or less evil than Walmart or McDonalds. The only difference is others don’t patronize us with a warm and cuddly public image. As the pressure to grow continues, Google will reach farther and farther to justify their value, and closer and closer to…*gasp*…evil.

1 Comment Google: Do No Evil (Sorta)

  1. jee mail

    Warning to all Gmail users: Gmail can be hacked and hijacked. It happened to me.
    But it gets worse, much worse. The “Gmail security Team” responded with such overwhelming incompetence as to make the original attack mild by comparison.
    As background, I am a very experienced techie, who has always practiced safe and secure online habits. I was also a fan of Google/Gmail – I understood the bounds of what they seemed to offer and I was trusting of their claim to “make money without doing evil”. Sadly, they have become that which they once despised.
    A quick version of what happened is this; like many Gmail users, I was setup to have all new emails forwarded to my primary email account. One morning I noticed an email that had been forwarded to people I didn’t know – from my Gmail account! In a panic I realized that the email that was forwarded contained a stray piece of information from which some banking details could be garnered. Over the next few minutes I looked on in dismay as I started receiving emails confirming my “new” “e-gold” accounts and my attempts to purchase foreign gold!
    Seeking assistance with how to stop this crime in progress, I decided to try contacting my “friends” at Gmail whose focus it is to “provide the best user experience possible”. Amazingly, this is when the true nightmare began.
    Not only did the Gmail/Google staff respond in a robotic and unhelpful manner, but after confirming the attack, all of my original emails and data were completely eliminated by the “Gmail Team”. That’s right – all of the personal and business data that was entrusted to Gmail has was simply eliminated. Even worse, Gmail made no indication of where the data went, who removed it and why, and who had access to it during their “investigation”.
    Please understand, I was a true Google believer. In fact I had encouraged many friends to open a Gmail account. I was even considering installing the new Google desktop search tool on the day of the attack!
    Gmail’s response to all of this has been wildly unethical and dangerous. It is very disheartening, but Google seems to have become that which they once despised.
    If you know of any living breathing human at Gmail, who can even begin to explain this, please let me know. I really don’t think a “they have too many users to keep track of” justification can cut it. This is a serious problem – that has hurt real people. At any other large corporation or institution you can always eventually find someone who takes responsibility. Should we really trust our lives to something as faceless and non-responsive as Gmail? The V.P. in charge of Gmail is Jonathan Rosenberg, so I have used his contact info in my preliminary filing with the NWIC/FBI and the IFCC.
    Please contact me with any information, experiences, or suggestions. I would be happy to provide you with as much corroborating documentation as you would like. I am just a regular guy going about his business and trying to lead an honest life – I won’t be the last one to have a piece of his security and trust squashed by this emerging monolith.
    jeemail@walla.com

    Reply

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