Plea: Google Come Out And Be Honest

january 28, 2006

Google has posted an official statement about China. It really doesn't make things any better for them. It still reads like they are trying to justify: "We'll do no evil, unless there is money to be made" or "To hell with our principles! There's a dollar to be made!" See, I think that it is great that companies are starting to invest into Chinese operations. I understand that doing in business in China requires some changes in business -- like filtering of results. What I don't like is Google's insistence in treating everyone like they are idiots. Come out, denounce your whole "do no evil" stance. Come out, say you are just like any other public company now. And stop with this "we're a saint" stuff. Revise your Philosophy page and make it honest. 4. Democracy on the web works. "By analyzing the full structure of the web, Google is able to determine which sites have been 'voted' the best sources of information by those most interested in the information they offer." Not really true if you are filtering results. 6. You can make money without doing evil. This needs to be removed completely. If you are going to help filter results for the China market, you are doing evil. Be honest about it. 7. There's always more information out there. "Google's researchers continue looking into ways to bring all the world's information to users seeking answers." Uhm, how do you figure that is true if you are filtering out results for Chinese users? 8. The need for information crosses all borders. This one is so true. Google, you can't have it both ways. You can't put up a front that you're this great company willing to stick to your principles and make money the right way (by doing no evil) -- all the while making the money doing a little bit of "evil". Do I think that Google entering the market in China is a good thing? Most definitely! I agree with Google that once the doors of information are open, they will stay open. I agree with Google that it will take time for the Chinese government to realize that open information is the way to go. I am happy that there is another avenue for Chinese people to get information from. What makes me angry is that Google continues to try to portray itself as this saintly company with high principles. They really need to come out and be honest with people: Google is a corporation with shareholders to answer to now. If Google were to really "make money without doing evil" and stick to its principles, it would boycott the market in China. But, come on. China is the fastest growing market in the world. Google can't stay out. Why? Because they are a public company with stockholders to please. What will happen next? As I mentioned earlier, Google will start testing rich media ads. These will include interstitial ads (the ones that make you click to get to the actual page you want to go to). If you read Google principle number 6 (you know the one about doing no evil while making money), you'll see they say: "Google has also proven that advertising can be effective without being flashy. Google does not accept pop-up advertising, which interferes with your ability to see the content you've requested." The next thing that will be "revised" in their philosophy will be the quote above. Rich media ads are flashy by all definitions of the word. Interstitial ads definitely interfere with my ability to see the content I have requested. My plea to Google: Be honest. Revise your Philosophy page to reflect what the company truly believes -- that it is now public, its goal is to make money however it can. And for crying out loud, remove that "do no evil" stuff. Doing evil is part of your blood now that you have to make money.