SMH: Don’t Be Evil or don’t lose value?

Australia’s Sydney Morning Herald brings up a question that is often debated but rarely as focused upon as it would be in any other organization… except Google:

Some have interpreted the ceaseless criticisms of Google’s privacy policies and its co-operation with totalitarian regimes as a sign the Don’t Be Evil goal is unattainable for a profit-driven company. At the very least, the corporate motto has encouraged the public and the press to hold Google to a higher standard.

“It really wasn’t like an elected, ordained motto,” Google’s vice-president and 20th employee, Marissa Mayer, said in an interview during her trip to Sydney last week.

“I think that ‘Don’t Be Evil’ is a very easy thing to point at when you see Google doing something that you personally don’t like; it’s a very easy thing to point out so it does get targeted a lot.”

I certainly hope that Google isn’t backpedaling from its “don’t be evil” motto — unordained or not.

In fact, as a motto it forces Google employees to seriously think of the consequences of their work. Above all else, as a user it certainly enables me to trust Google to do the right thing… depending on how Google chooses to define “evil”.

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