Monday, August 23, 2010

Don't Be Evil = Don't Inconvenience Me

Google took a lot of ribbing for adopting the "Don't be evil" motto. But with the recent revelation that Google has been working with Verizon to undermine Net Neutrality, many feel that Google has crossed the Moral Event Horizon into outright villainy.

I'm not smart enough to weigh in on the Net Neutrality debate. But I wonder whether anyone could ever possibly live up to "Don't be evil."

I think it's arguable that Google has always been evil--from stealing Overture's business model to killing off great product after great product (Remember Etherpad?), Google has always committed "evil" acts. But we let them get away with it because, as noted philosopher Homer J. Simpson once said of another of Itchy's comic deaths, "It's funny because it isn't me."

When Google promised to not be evil, we essentially interpreted that statement as, "We'll do things that you, the general public, agree with, like facilitating the piracy of TV clips."

Sure, Google may be in a dark conspiracy with Verizon. But their real crime, at least if the public were really honest, is threatening to inconvenience us when we download our free porn.

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