Right now, Google’s famous ‘Do no evil’ mantra seems irrelevant, even hypocritical. I’d like to take a look at Google’s 10 guiding corporate philosophy principles and see how relevant they are in light of their new ‘net neutrality’ proposal. In the last update to their corporate page Google stated: “We first wrote these “10 things” several years ago. From time to time we revisit this list to see if it still holds true. We hope it does – and you can hold us to that. (September 2009)”
Well, Google – we do hold you to that, and I think it’s time you took a review of this page and ask yourself if these items are still true.
1. Focus on the user and all else will follow.
Google, you clearly have strayed from your path of focusing on the user. In fact, you seem more focused on colluding with huge penny-pinching businesses nowadays. If you focused on users, you never would have reversed direction with Android – an open mobile OS that was said to eventually free users from the chains of giant mobile carriers.
Today, we are seeing the opposite with Android; users are getting tied to lengthy carrier contracts through offerings of super phones (recently Verizon’s Incredible and Sprint’s EVO) which are filled with irremovable bloatware. Google, this definitely is not focusing on the user – it is focusing on making carriers and corporations happy.
2. It’s best to do one thing really, really well.
Google, admit it – you are trying to become more than a one trick pony. No longer are you purely focused on search, but you’ve now got your tentacles wrapped around the mobile sector (among other things). We were OK that you went in a different direction to build Android (even if we knew it was just another way to display your ads to users), but you seem really confused now.
You’re kind of like Michael Jordan – you were really good at basketball, but when you started playing baseball everyone started to realize that you suck at it. Google, you’re starting to suck at stuff.
3. Fast is better than slow.
I’ll give you this one Google – you are sticking with this philosophy. In your ‘net neutrality’ writeup you propose creating a new second internet that runs in the fast lane, allowing companies to develop innovative and wonderful pay-for services that require more bandwidth. Only problem is: if there is fast lane it leaves the old internet, the one that most people use, stuck in traffic.
4. Democracy on the web works.
Google, how democratic would the new internet you envisioned really be? I can see it now: carriers denying apps that don’t suit their purposes and people denied internet services because they aren’t paying for the ‘premium’ internet. Google, if democracy means letting businesses walk all over people by denying them freedom of choice in broadband and the wireless spectrum, then by all means, democracy works.
5. You don’t need to be at your desk to need an answer.
This one is true Google. You know that you’ve hit on something really big with this mobile thing. People need answers everywhere they go, and now that your Android is the #1 selling mobile OS in the United States, they can conveniently Google anything, from anywhere (and click on the ads to prove it!) Although you tout Android as being ‘open source’ – it seems that your services like Google search and Gmail are a ‘must add’ to any Android handset on the market.
6. You can make money without doing evil.
To address this one I’d like to refer to Huffington Post writer Marvin Ammori: “You have to hand it to Google. Going from “Don’t Be Evil” to “Greedier than BP” overnight is a pretty impressive trick.”
7. There’s always more information out there.
Google, you’re making us question who will have access to this information in the future. Your CEO Eric Schmidt referred to the proposed second pay-for internet: “This means that broadband providers can work with other players to develop new services. It is too soon to predict how these new services will develop, but examples might include health care monitoring, the smart grid, advanced educational services, or new entertainment and gaming options.” So these fantastic new health care and educational services will only be available to people willing to pay for it?
8. The need for information crosses all borders.
Apparently not for people in China. Although you made a short stand by pulling your service from China due to censorship disputes, you eventually gave in. It seems that the prospect of tapping China’s huge market was too alluring for you to stand up for what was right. This situation seems vaguely familiar: throwing internet freedom aside in order to try and make more money…
9. You can be serious without a suit.
Google, I’m not sure anyone buys this hippy-dippy corporate culture bullshit anymore. Don Draper wears a damn fine suit and I’d love to see his take on Adwords.
10. Great just isn’t good enough.
As much praise as you get for your algorithm, there are several other search options out there (Bing in particular) that have been gaining on you in the past year. I don’t think you realize how many people use Google simply because ‘its Google’.
They liked the way you did things simply, they liked the idea of not going ‘corporate’ with Microsoft, they liked how you stood for what was right. In other words, people found a reason to like you. If people start to realize that you are just another corporate giant out to make a profit I wouldn’t underestimate their ability to realize that “Google just isn’t good enough” anymore.