News has emerged that Google’s famous “Don’t Be Evil” motto seems to have been quietly removed from its code of conduct.
Instead the phrase,which used to appear several times throughout Google’s code of conduct seems to have been replaced by rather more vague and ambiguous terms like “ethical business conduct”.
“Don’t Be Evil” had been listed at the very start of its code, and another two times within the first two paragraphs. But now, the code reads a bit differently; “Don’t be evil” has all but not vanished. Instead, the code now reads: “The Google Code of Conduct is one of the ways we put Google’s values into practice. It’s built around the recognition that everything we do in connection with our work at Google will be, and should be, measured against the highest possible standards of ethical business conduct”.
Back in the day
It used to say, however: “Don’t be evil.” Googlers generally apply those words to how we serve our users. But “Don’t be evil” is much more than that. Yes, it’s about providing our users unbiased access to information, focusing on their needs and giving them the best products and services that we can. But it’s also about doing the right thing more generally – following the law, acting honorably, and treating co-workers with courtesy and respect”.
Does this mean that Google is now actually evil?
Probably not. However, the “Don’t be evil” moniker has been part of the company’s corporate code of conduct since way back when at the start of the century, when the company was much smaller than it is now, and companies like Yahoo were major competitors, and Amazon was still primarily a river in South America.
In 2015, when Google became a subsidiary of the new umbrella parent company, Alphabet, a slightly different version of the motto appeared: “Do the right thing.” However, “Don’t be evil” was still seen as being an integral part of the company. The phrase was also not just something employees read in their handbooks or saw sitting behind the front desks of their offices either. A modified version of “Don’t be evil” was even supposed to form the Wi-Fi code on the Google shuttle buses in San Francisco.
The phrase was removed sometime in late April or early May, archives hosted by the Wayback Machine show.
According to data gleaned by the Wayback Machine, on April 21, 2018, “Don’t be Evil” disapeared. It’s highly unlikely it will be returning anytime soon.
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