Monday, November 10, 2014

Google becomes a...regular business

All businesses must change with time in order to survive--let alone prosper--and Google is no exception:

Most interesting among the points mentioned in the article is that Google has dropped most of its original pretense of being morally "special"--as opposed to any other business. 
"Okay. So Google isn't any more evil than Exxon, General Motors or Raytheon. But it isn't morally better either. Google was founded on the hubristic notion that one could simultaneously become very rich and do good. But this, of course, is the ultimate Silicon Valley conceit. Ten years on from its original mission statement, Google has emerged as one of the most powerful and profitable multinational corporations in the world. Its mission is making money for its shareholders, not improving the world. Rather than a public service, Google is -- with Apple -- the most successful for-profit company in today's global capitalist system."

I'm basically a fan of Google as a corporate entity. Most of use Google and various Google services everyday; and I'm no exception. (Among other things, Google provides the hosting for this blog.)

Nevertheless, I always thought there was something a bit sanctimonious about Google's "don't be evil" motto. The implication herein was that Google somehow stood above other corporations in moral terms.

After fifteen years of dominance in a handful of fields, the evidence suggests that Google is no better--and probably no worse---than the average profit-generating enterprise.

Which is what some of us foresaw back in 1999.

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