Google’s Moral Superiority

Google has gotten its market position due largely to its brand image.

That brand image is one of moral superiority. Would they be a great search engine without that brand image? Sure, but that brand image and brand loyalty has blinded many people to the poor search quality that is often visible in the SERPs. Google is good, just not as grand as many people want to believe. And that desire to believe in Google and the fanatic loyalty to Google is something that was created by Google’s branding strategy.

Google, compared to MSN and Yahoo, has the less-than-commercial brand image. That’s no mistake. “They don’t have ads on the home page”. I hear this sometimes, cited as proof of Google’s not-for-profit love of the Internet.

And we all know about Google’s lava lamp fetish.

What feeling exactly is Google trying to evoke with these lava lamps? What image is this money grubbing, hypocritically evil megacorp trying to associate itself with?

That image would be one of the 60’s and 70’s anti-establishment movement. Google, where nothing is free, has successfully branded itself as a non-commercial, near non-profit benefactor of the Internet.

Now some might suggest that this is all a miscommunication, and Google never intentionally portrayed itself as morally superior. But they in fact did.

Our informal corporate motto is “Don’t be evil.”

Cited from http://investor.google.com/conduct.html

Have they ever made a non evil choice? When has Google ever in their history chosen to do right, when it meant losing money?

http://images.google.cn/images?q=tiananmen

Compare to:

http://images.google.com/images?q=tiananmen

That’s not evil?

The fact that they can pretend it’s nothing more than a business decision is not only evil, it’s racist. I choose my words carefully, and I say racist because they would never consider messing with this search.

http://images.google.com/images?q=Holocaust

But, Chinese, hey there’s billions of them, right? So what if a couple thousand were murdered by their own government? Let’s just all pretend that never happened.

Google wants Chinese traffic, and they aren’t about to let morality stand in the way of that.

The real fun would be to test the limits of Google’s evilness. Like, they’ve already proven that they will rewrite history for murdering tyrants. Throw ’em a couple bucks and see if they are willing to go China and drive tanks over students themselves. $10,000 per student, maybe?

This, from a company’s whose motto is “Don’t be evil”?

In case you’re wondering what triggered this outburst, Google’s Sergey Brin yesterday said that he wasn’t comfortable with the choices he made in dealing with China. (Source)

It just seems like more public relations crap to me. They made their choice, they demonstrated that they were perfectly willing to insult the victims of the Tiananmen Square massacre, and yeah it blew up in their face. Any decisions made now will be solely for PR reasons.

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