The words “do not be evil” have been linked to Google for a while now, and has reached near mythical proportions now with some of its users. But how much of this is true?
One would argue, successfully, that google must absolutely not be evil, since these very words where immortalized in it’s IPO. However, such reasoning would have one flaw:
They have shareholders now.
Perhaps when google started out, it truly was guided by wonderful guidelines like that, many companies do. Personally, I always strive to be as honest and transparent as possible, but as a private person, I can do that. A publicly traded company like google cannot. It has shareholders. Shareholders are in it for one thing only: making a profit, and as much as possible of that profit. There is no “for the greater good of mankind” in stocks.
Now, a lot of you will grab a torch and pitchfork, (There is an app for that) and demand proof.
Okay, here are some examples that I plucked from a number of users at app.net (commonly known as ADN by it’s users):
Now, we all know google+ is google’s third or something attempt at building a social network. Personally, all I hear or see about it is messages on Facebook or ADN saying: I created a google+ account for some reason. Followed by a message a month or so later: I deleted my google+ account.
But seriously, forcing people to create an account there, and deleting their stuff on other sections of the platform if you delete the account? That is pretty evil. It is safe to say that google’s latest attempt to do something akin to a social network is failing too. Most accounts are idle, and those that are not are few and far between. All I hear is that there is zero interaction and zero community feeling. (Something that comes by the bucketload on app.net)
What is next? My google enterprise (which just got a very unexpected, inconsiderate, and hefty price increase) account will get whipped out if I don’t want to use a google+ account?
Google, even more then apple, is the most rampant example of vendor lock-in I have witnessed in the industry so far. An apple device without iCloud will function just fine. An android device? Not so much.
So, is google evil? Yes, increasingly so. They have no choice, their shareholders demand that of them. You see an almost similar thing happening at apple after Jobs, Jobs was fascinatingly good at keeping shareholders at bay, in order to build a monumentally good product ecosystem. He just about got away with everything, simply because the figures showed he was right. Now, you slowly see shareholders demands for higher profits creep in in the little things. And this is worrying. Shareholders don’t know what makes a company like that successful, and they should not get too much say in the development processes. Companies like apple and google need a Jobs who can stick to his core principles and damned the consequences. Shareholders – despite what they might say – do not have the best interest of the company, it’s products, it’s customers at heart. It’s all about how much profit they can make. And if that is by dissolving the company, they will do that in a heartbeat.