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Does Google Deserve To Be Labeled Evil?

Google may be bringing on bad PR by simply having "Do No Evil" as a policy

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Does Google Deserve To Be Labeled Evil?
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Is it just me or does Google seem to be getting a lot of negative press lately? There seem to be an irregular amount of stories about Google and whether or not it’s “evil” making the rounds. There is even a Facebook page named, “Google is Evil“!

Do you think accusations that Google is evil are justified? Let us know what you think.

Also read: Developers Prefer Google Over Facebook… Do You?

First, let’s look at what Google actually says. Here’s the company’s code of conduct. The part about evil says:

“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 each other with respect.

The Google Code of Conduct is one of the ways we put “Don’t be evil” 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. We set the bar that high for practical as well as aspirational reasons: Our commitment to the highest standards helps us hire great people, who then build great products, which in turn attract loyal users. Trust and mutual respect among employees and users are the foundation of our success, and they are something we need to earn every day.

The document takes the reader through the following sections: Serve Our Users, Respect Each Other, Avoid Conflicts of Interest, Preserve Confidentiality, Protect Google’s Assets, Ensure Financial Integrity and Responsibility, and Obey the Law.

The whole thing ends with the following line:

And remember . . . don’t be evil, and if you see something that you think isn’t right — speak up!

It seems like that part about trust might be the biggest area of concern, considering all of the talk out there on the newswires, the blogosphere, and the social networks.

Gizmodo has an article called “The Case Against Google“. This is mainly about privacy, how people “don’t trust Google with their data,” which is “new”.

“Many of us have entered into a contract with the ur search company because its claims to be a good actor inspired our trust,” writes the article’s author, Mat Honan. “Google has always claimed to put the interests of the user first. It’s worth questioning whether or not that’s still the case. Has Google reached a point where it must be evil?”

The article goes on to proclaim that “search is dying,” basically implying that “Search Plus Your World” is making people not want to use Google search anymore. I’ll be the first to admit that it’s got it’s issues, and that Google’s results could be a lot better these days, but there’s no way SPYW is killing Google search. Sorry. It’s just not. For all of the media outcry about it, I don’t know anybody in my personal life that has stopped using Google to search the web because of it. Most people just don’t care that much.

Google’s “Search Plus Your World,” which is essentially the integration of Google+ (with some other things sprinkled in) into search results, is no doubt driven by that ad revenue addiction in the end. The better Google+ does, the more Facebook-like data Google can get about you, and potentially use to help advertisers better target consumers. Some may find that evil, advertising is how Google makes its money, which allows Google to do more things. Google is a business. It’s not a charity, though it does have some particularly un-evil charitable initiatives.

Danny Sullivan, who spends much of his time specifically writing about Google and the search industry, even told the New York Times recently, “I don’t think they were ever not evil,” though he did go out of his way to put that into greater context in his own article. He references another quote he gave the NYT: “They are a big company, and any big company is always going to have something happen that they don’t expect. But these things keep happening where you can’t even trust their word.”

“It pains me to say it, when I know so many people at Google truly and honestly mean for their company to be doing good things, to be trusted,” he adds in his own article. “It also pains me when I know Google has done many good things for the web as a whole. The fact that sites don’t have to pay just for the chance to be showing up in ‘free’ listings in search engines is largely down to the force of Google.”

Matthew Stenslaand-Bos at SF Bay says Google has gotten “big for its britches.” He writes:

The laundry list of the company’s violations and missteps has only grown in recent years, and you can find one for almost every area of interest. Regarding social networking, Google was caught rigging their search results to display items from their sources — Google+, for example — before those of their competitors, like Twitter and Facebook. So much fair and unbiased search.

Last year, Google was caught hosting ads from online Canadian pharmacies that led to illegal importation of prescription drugs. Google was forced to forfeit $500 million — a little slap on the wrist. But it was in the area of privacy that the company seems to have really blown it.

That part about privacy is about the new consolidated policy that we’ve discussed numerous times, which personally, I think has been way out of proportion.

Ryan Tate at Gawker has a piece about former CEO (and current Executive Chairman) Eric Schmidt “calling on programmers, like those at Google, to speak out against any evil practices their bosses ask them to perform”. The piece references one from the Cal Alumni Association at UC Berkley, which awarded Schmidt Alumnus of the Year. The following quote from Schmidt is highlighted:

“Scientists from Berkeley spoke out on the dangers of nuclear war, on atomic proliferation and things like this. And it was the scientists that got people concerned. It was the scientists who spoke out to make the world a better place. And that’s a responsibility that I think I and others have.”

Rob Enderle at TGDaily has an article called “Google vs. Microsoft: The hero becomes the villain“. Is Google the villain now?

“Truthfully, the idea for writing this article was prompted by a conversation I had this morning about Stanford University. Specifically, we were discussing how the students have noticeably shifted alliances dramatically over the last decade,” Enderle writes. “A scant ten year ago they hated Microsoft and Google was the White Knight, yet it is truly amazing how those positions have reversed today.”

He talks about how ads at Google were initially perceived as “little more than a necessary evil to generate money and fund the firm,” adding, “The most fascinating aspect of all this? The apparent internal dislike for ads as something ‘unclean.’ Yet, the now conflicted company appears focused (perhaps a better word would be addicted) on the revenue the ads generate.”

Ads are still Google’s main driver of revenue, so it is still the majority of Google’s funding. Doesn’t it make sense that Google would want to be “addicted” to the thing that is not only driving its business, but funding for innovation and more ambitious projects. You know they have self-driving cars, right? Did you know these cars are even inspiring state legislation?

Ads are only part of Enderle’s story, as he goes into operating strategy, mostly as a comparison to Microsoft’s strategy, and the much-publicized privacy issues with Safari.

In a PCWorld article, Enderle (again) asks if Google is “facing the beginning of the end.” This was in response to that much-talked about post from the former Google engineer James Whittaker, who said, “The Google I was passionate about was a technology company that empowered its employees to innovate. The Google I left was an advertising company with a single corporate-mandated focus.”

In the PCWorld article, Enderle does raise an interesting point: “Google should have worked to line up Microsoft and Facebook as partners, not competitors.” I’m not sure if it’s the right point, but it’s an interesting scenario to consider.

That’s just a few brief glimpses of some of the articles out there. There are plenty of stories currently in Google News about Google and evil.

You might say Google brought this kind of discussion on itself, by simply making that “Don’t Be Evil” mantra a part of its code in the first place. Google has certainly grown a whole lot since that was created, but it does remain part of the company’s philosophy to this day, whether you think they’re honoring it or not. It may be the very fact that this is such a well-known part of the company’s founding and existence, which sparks a much heftier amount of criticism and stories with the words “Google” and “Evil” in the title together that other companies are immune to. It makes for catchy headlines, for sure.

It’s interesting that not a lot of the articles out there (at least the ones calling the company evil) are about how Google is changing the way it delivers its search results, which could greatly impact the traffic it sends to other sites. Given all the hoopla around the Panda update for the past year or so, which saw some companies having to layoff employees, it’s a bit surprising that there isn’t more focus on this part of the discussion in the more mainstream news. Google is increasingly finding ways to keep people on its own properties longer (which means less time on sites like yours). To be clear, I don’t think this is necessarily “evil” either, but it’s certainly significant to doing business on the web.

Is Google really evil? More evil than its peers (like Microsoft, Facebook, Apple, Amazon, etc.)? Tell us what you think in the comments.

Does Google Deserve To Be Labeled Evil?
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  • jack

    There is a negative PR campaign against Google. It’s funded by the same people who were smacked down by Wikipedia and Google when SOPA/PIPA failed. Murdock, Microsoft, Twitter and others who want to deny liberty (free assembly, free speach, and freedom from warrantless search) are behind it. They want to soften up Google for opposing their grab for what they call Intellectual Property, another word for monopoly pricing of art bought at a pittance from artists and sold by lawyers.

    • wally247

      Speech*

      • http://www.OnlineSportsRus.com Larry

        You are an idiot. If you have not figured out by now that google is a CIA front group then I feel sorry for your stupid ass. Google is one of the largest privacy violater ever. They not only sell your info but they hand it right off to the government. If you think this is a conspiracy theory think again and do your own homework because these are FACTS. Google has destroyed more small business’s online than any other organization. They purposely make it hard for small business’s to get found on search because their constant updates enable the large corporations such as Amazon and other big box stores to take over. Again do your own research and homework folks. Anyone here that defends google are obviously either working for google or have their hand in googles pocket and that is a fact.

    • spktruth

      yes, google is as evil as Goldman Sachs…these corporate devils are working with homeland security to spy on all americans as if WE are the terrorists. screw google.and jail everyone at Goldman.

      • http://www.theinvitationdepot.com Wanda

        Oop sorry, replied to the wrong post. I don’t agree with the CIA front group part, though they do sell your information to anyone willing to pay the highest price. The Patriot act allows the government to spy on our internet activity.

    • General P

      Recently google did some posturing like they are the lord of the webs and website owners are suckers fully depended on google. Also some corrupt employees, associates did some mischief.

      The reality is google is 100% depended on free content that website owners produce. Where as website owners are not so much depended on google, if tomorrow google does not exist websites will still get traffic, within 2 months other search engines will fill the void.

      So Google’s corporate responsibility should be “50% to users and share holders” and “50% to website owners” who provide it free content to index. Google cannot grab all the profit, they have to “leave some bread on the table” for the website owners.

      Google management, employees, share holders and stock analysts has to understand this simple reality…..

    • Dana

      Is that a surprise to you? If Joe owns a hotdog stand then it is expected that Joe might compare his hotdogs with the competitors stand across the street. Joe might exemplify or even exaggerate what is good about his hotdogs over theirs, and he might even point out what he thinks is bad about their dogs. Is that a big revelation? No. You are kinda stating the obvious if you are saying that Google’s “competitors” are, well, actively “competing” with Google. You see, as a customer I might buy a Joe’s hotdog, but ultimately I will be the one that decides whether it is good or not (as a customer), and I can tell you lately Google’s dogs are stanky to the max. Whether Murdock, or Microsoft, or Twitter, are also pointing out how stanky Google’s dogs are, doesn’t change the fact that I am a customer/user that is also experiencing the same stank from Google. Its not so much those other companies that Google has to deal with. Its me. I want to continue using Google, and thus I want Google to continue to make some money from my use of their service. But I’m not going to eat theses stanky Google dogs. They are gonna have to change their recipe. It is perfectly reasonable for me (as a customer/user) to express my dissatisfaction at what Google is doing. I am not doing so because i dislike Google, but rather because their recent dogs just stink. I like the company. I want them to move in a good direction instead of where they have been going. Is Google Evil? I don’t know. But their dogs stink.

    • Peter

      So Microsoft is now the evil one and Google is the angel? We should boycott Microsoft now and switch to Google’s servicies?

    • Witchcraft

      Ye Olde Response

      Google is simply a corporation that seeks to further the human internet experience. This has no evil background that accompanies the ideas of the future to that place. Arrogance of assumption has made buffoons out of man before, and the future does not led one to being an inane, pathetic, or in this case evil person(s). One should mind his or her thoughts before presenting them in a harmful manner such as the said accusation to a mere internet enhancer. For just as religion led man to stupidity, comments like this may also do the same. Of course unless the end goal is to make mankind a useless race of specs in an insignificant solar system, in an insignificant galaxy, in an insignificant cluster. Also because of things such as the true position of the inhabitants of earth, it is rather key that humans stay intelligent, and realize that earth is a pathetic blue sub atomic particle in comparison to the universe(s).

  • Charles Sithole

    Who is evil: a company that provides free services to the world or a company that uses slave labour to produce very expensive gadgets that very few people can buy? The notion that “Google is evil” is being advanced by EPIC and CNL which are both funded by Microsoft. Apple and Microsoft are trying by all means to kill Google through use of patents some of which have already been declared invalid. Steve Jobs said he would never believed in charity and never contributed to charity despite using Chinese slave labour to produce the iPhone. Does anyone ever cry “evil” about Apple? All these anti-Google articles are very suspect: bloggers on Microsoft payroll!

    • http://www.OnlineSportsRus.com Larry

      Why do you think they give you all this free stuff? It is to make you feel comfortable in giving over your information. Hello!! wake up!! It is all an effort to know everything about you. All they are is a government database. One day your going to finally wake up and get smart and see what the hell is going on but by the time all the morons wake up it will be too late. You will finally wake up and say how the hell did we get here. How did we lose all our freedom and privacy. Well you been told. Google and facebook are co-opted by CIA. Again wake the hell up folks. You can call this a conspiracy if you want but that does not negate the facts as they are stated here. Government gives all kinds of free stuff to. Do they do it because they are nice. NO! They give free crap so that you become dependent on them so they can control every aspect of your life.

    • Dana

      I think that most of us have a problem with using the word “Evil”, even for Google. But if this is just you thinking that Microsoft (or Apple) is “Evil”, well, what does that matter? It is Google’s practices (as of lately really) that classifies the company in the eyes of its customers/users (and potential customers/users). The question isn’t is Google more “Evil” than Microsoft, but simply is Google “Evil”. I don’t need to talk about Microsoft at all in order to question the business practices of Google, just as I don’t have to have a discussion about Fried Fish when I am trying to gauge whether a particular battery is good or not. The battery is either good or it isn’t (or somewhere in between). Just because you hate “Fried Fish” doesn’t change that. Ok, Microsoft isn’t on your Christmas card list, we get it. But that doesn’t make Google a better company. However, bad a company Microsoft might be, Google’s current business practices still stink. See, there really isn’t any correlation. Its like saying, my milk went bad in my fridge today, therefore Google is a GREAT Company!!!! “Who is bad: a company like Google, or my off milk in my fridge?”…hmmmm? See my point. It is nonsense. The quality of Google as a company can be quantified by what Google does as a company, and lately they have done some stanky stuff. All I am saying is Google as gone a bit off lately.

  • http://www.weightlossnagger.com John Barnes

    Yes
    GOOGLE IS EVIL

    This is an email I banged off to them yesterday…..

    Oh Dear! I cannot believe it!

    You pay for your ads to appear above organic results and they end up below your organic results. To be precise, at the very bottom of the page. What’s going on? I did contact a human at Google and they said it was because there were less than 5 competing for the keyword so it goes to the bottom, huh?

    So now my clients and I are out of pocket AND so is Google. It’s a classic “Lose-Lose” situation.

    My clicks are down 50% and my business is down 50%. I worked so hard to get my ads with 10/10 quality score. It’s not as though the ads or the websites are not relevent, the quality score speaks for itself!

    Does Google realise or even care that these STUPID ideas cause financial hardship and despair to the average user?

    If this doesn’t revert back, I’m out of business and I’ll bet that Google won’t miss me either. karma!

    • http://www.OnlineSportsRus.com Larry

      Very well said John. Finally someone gets it. Finally someone else sees what they are doing behind this big facade or free stuff. People think getting free stuff is good but remember you may be getting free stuff right now but next comes them taking your FREEdom

  • Terry Dean

    Google earned its reputation as a great search engine, and put other engines like Alta Vista out of business. Now they are more obsessed with snooping on people’s search preferences, yeah that is personal information and Google is not entitled to use it without our permission, stick to being a great search engine and you’ll be ok otherwise, you’ll end up like Alta Vista, a relic.

    • Felix P.

      Google earns billions of dollars a year for clicks that should never occur and they are happy to let you pay for them. Fuck them and their negative keywords, how about giving me my money back for the bullshit clicks.

  • sj

    It’s hard for me to say that “Google is evil” – that just humanizes an entity, a thing, an it. Are the corporate leaders evil? Perhaps some are, because money and power have a pretty powerful pull for those with a conscious that only received a partial fill on the let’s-make-a-human assembly line. The Code of Conduct makes for lovely company rhetoric and sounds oh so altruistic, my gosh you can almost hear the harps playing in the background!

    The whole Google thing reminds me of the movie “The Eggplant That Chicago” or maybe it was “Humpty Dumpty”. I think G is on a slippery slope; search results have gotten worse and worse, viewer loyalty is fading and many people are seeking out better, cleaner search engines, there is unrest among the masses.

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with Google making a buck, but perhaps the ‘kings on the throne’ need to revisit HOW they’re making that buck.

    Is Google evil? I don’t think we need to call in the priest to perform an exorcism just yet. I do know it lost BTF (Best Thing Friend) status in my book some time ago.

  • http://wredlich.com Warren Redlich

    I still think Google is great. Perfect? Maybe not. But it’s still the best search engine. Having someone like Matt Cutts out there talking about search quality demonstrates a real commitment to continue improving the core function.

    As a publisher, I respect Google’s core principles. If I deliver quality content and a good user experience, Google will continue ranking my sites in search results. I’ve lived up to my end of the bargain for 8+ years, and Google has too.

    I still harbor fears that I’ll get crushed by some update, but I do my best to stick to those principles. So far it seems like the updates have removed competitors who play game the system, while our growth has gradually continued.

    Ads and privacy? This is just whining. If you don’t like the ads, don’t click on them. If the ads are too spooky (yes, I’ve noticed that too) for you, stop using Google. You can use Bing, or DuckDuckGo. Or you can use private browsing.

    Advertisers are obviously getting value for their money. Publishers are getting paid for delivering quality content. Users are getting ads that are better targeted.

    • Joons

      Agreed 100%
      My experience too

  • Roger

    Yes, Google does a lot of evil. With no recourse, they can cancel ANY related account you have paid them to use for years (Adwords, Adsense etc).

    They are judge, jury and executioner. Too powerful. They need to have some quality assurance for sure, but they are accountable to nobody, really.

    I hope a realistic alternative to Google Adwords comes along sometime.

  • http://www.affordable-seo-services.com ketan raval

    it is certainly.. its not because of anti seo stand or anti internet marketer stand but google crossed boundry on privacy which is really not a good thing

  • Scott W

    Why all the hate on google? I saw them come from humble beginnings in the search engine wars back in the day, and you get angry at them because they index the entire internet? They already know way more than anyone else on the internet about me and you, and to assume otherwise would be a fallacy. Now the responsibility for what YOU post on the internet comes into play, because people somehow think this magical global network makes them anonymous somehow when it DOES NOT.

    People willingly give up their information to Facebook ALL THE TIME and Facebook’s claim that they will delete your account upon request is FALSE. I waited the 2 weeks after requesting the deletion, didn’t log back in again for a year when I decided to start my page up again and guess what? I could not verify my account information! Why does Facebook require a cellphone number to verify that I am a real person? Because they have it worse off than the rest of the internet for fake pages and spammers and malicious code, they just don’t tell you about that. So I couldn’t verify I was ME because the cell phone number I had used was the one I used for my LAST account, and then I found out THEY NEVER DELETED MY INFORMATION! I had defaced the account anyways, and why do I need to write my own macro to delete every one of my wall posts?

    I am an avid supporter of Google and their services and EVERY ONE OF THEM IS FREE with a few exceptions here and there. With that in mind, yes when corporations get big there are bound to be some evil presences in the company, but all in all Google has never done me wrong and Facebook continually accuses me of spam friend requests and I see so many fake pages and things people would find offensive on that site.

    Twitter? Love em to death, but they are an american corporation and therefore subject to the laws of america, so I would not tweet anything that would be considered illegal.

    When it comes down to protection of the first amendment and everyone’s freedom of speech, I am on Google’s side every time. The end point of this is that I would never post anything anywhere on the internet that I would not confess to my mother or anyone on the street, and to assume that it’s some sort of fantasy land where you become invincible, 12 feet tall, and anonymous is a fallacy. Grow up and realize that the information you put out on the internet is archived, usually in several places.

    Yeah I trust Google more than I would trust anyone else on the internet with my personal data and they are less invasive than any other social media site I have ever had experiences with, and way more professional than that monstrosity they call Facebook. Zuckerberg took that IPO and now he doesn’t give a rat’s ass about the people who made it possible… the customers. And this is a message echoed in many many other large corporations, but that is the nature of large scale business. It never should be, but this is the way the world and the internet are now. It’s two worlds, merged into one, and what you do on the internet now can have serious repercussions in your real world dealings.

    The principles on which Google were founded are sound and that is why I always had a spot in my heart for them, and in my opinion they are way less evil than most other corporations on the internet.

    • Joons

      Scott, absolutely
      I had exactly the same experience with Facebook and after I deleted my account I found I had not also deleted a page I had setup.
      In the FB world a page attached to an account is not “deleted” (like they ever actually delete anything anywys)when the account is. It’s still there and FB will not allow me access to it.
      I have had a good experience with Google, I’ve worked diligently to apply white hat SEO and have been rewarded after climbing the ranking for #1 organic place for my chosen keywords
      It’s the people who game the system who seem to have issues – you get what you deserve

  • Talkic

    Blah blah blah. They are Mother Teresa compared to Facebook.

  • http://Talkic.com Talkic

    Blah blah blah. They are Mother Teresa compared to Facebook and their shenanigans.

  • http://www.weightlossfix.net jenny

    Google have become the Tesco of the internet wanting their finger in everyone’s pie,’big brothering’ our every move.Self-appointed crusaders,spouting sanctimonious phrases about benefitting customer base and the world at large…my eye!!..it’s about bucks in the bank and as businesses, that’s OK…but as an individual,I resent being watched 24 hrs a day and eulogies about looking after my interest is,whichever cloak they hide behind, an invasion of my privacy.
    As a 69 yr old ‘granny’ it’s hard to believe,with any stretch of the imagination,why they would need to ban my Adsense account,but they did and I am still wondering why as they weren’t gracious enough to inform me of their reasons.
    Over-powerful companies and individuals hide behind many guises,while the world stands by in awe of their power,just as banks and investment companies have destroyed the economy,so hopefully ‘Big G’ is creating it’s own holocaust by invading people’s rights to security and privacy in their own home.

  • http://www.designfishstudio.com An Eastbourne web designer

    I believe either Larry Page or Sergy Brin came up with the “slogan” of sorts, as young lads, back in the founding days of the search engine. Reading more into whether Google is EVIL or not isnt really necessary. Whilst I cant see a large corporation Like Mcdonalds with 30’000 outlets and a 67 year old CCO using a similar slogan, I can see a couple of twenty-something guys coming up with and sticking with it as a branding element of their new creation.

    Google was constantly innovative and forward thinking on their road to dominating the search market, whereas Microsoft seemed always to be constantly floundering, desperately clutching and trying too hard to achieve the same results, making google the lesser of the two evils… was how I always saw Google VS all other engines and portals.

  • http://cozumelmexico.net Bob

    I love the comment about how google is a “free service” :-)

    Unfortunately revenue is the root of all evil.

    Here is only one example. Trip advisor is getting millions of people to write their copy for them and they are now ranking much higher in the results relating to Vacation rentals around the world. The “mom and pop” operators are being pushed lower and lower.

    On the surface this may seem like a normal progression. However it is important to note three things.

    1. Trip advisor is one of Google’s largest contributors on pay-per-click advertising.
    2. Trip advisor is becoming a one stop shop for all travelers.
    3. Trip advisor is doing it by spamming the index from all directions (TripAdvisor, Airfarewatchdog, BookingBuddy, Cruise Critic, Family Vacation Critic, FlipKey, Holiday Lettings, Holiday Watchdog, Independent Traveler, OneTime, SeatGuru, SmarterTravel, SniqueAway, Travel Library, TravelPod, VirtualTourist and Kuxun.cn.)! All owned by TripAdvisor.

    And many of the local sites with more relevant and timely information are being shoved down in the search results.

    So TripAdvisor is letting everyone write their copy for them only to rise above the people that are contributing to their portal. Now Trip Advisor is receiving advertising revenue from the very same people that they are booting out of the top spots in generic search.

    On the surface this might seem OK because trip advisors many web sites a great one-stop-shop portal.

    However, here is the rub. I remember when hotels.com and hundreds of their mirror web portals were spamming the index years ago. They were SUPER spamming the index with copy after copy of my web site content showing up on 1,000’s of their mirrored web sites. At one point I did a search and found over 10,000 copies of my site in different formats using my property in all of these portals. And I am not exaggerating.

    Eventually Google stopped cooperating with hotels.com and penalized them for spamming the index. Then we smaller operators returned to our former positions.

    Now, Trip Advisor, Flipkey, cruise critic, and all of their other portals (all owned by Tripadvisor) are doing the exact same thing as Hotels.com did 8 years ago.

    What is the difference? Why is Google allowing this to happen?………….. Simple, TripAdvisor is taking ad revenue from people like me and they are spending large amounts of it to pay Google for pay-per-click. Now the mom and pop operator can’t compete with the budget that Tripadvisor has. And they are once again being booted down in the rankings.

    The only difference is that hotels.com at the time did it simply to get on the top several spots on generic search whereas TripAdvisor is paying “homage” to Google in the form of pay-per-click advertising. AND they are appearing in the top spot in generic search as well.

    If you don’t believe me; check it out yourself. Search Google under the term “vacation rentals” or any other related term. Look around and see how many results are from TripAdvisor or one of their affiliates listed above.

    It is only going to get worse.

  • Betty L Johnson

    I would have to agree that the ‘results’ of Google searches are ‘evil’. People are losing their jobs and being turned down for employment as a direst result of employers doing a ‘google search’ on employees.

    Also- since pornography sites are readily available and can be found through google search- purposely as well as accidentally- Clicking on these illegal sites has actually sent people to prison- for years, causing them to be registered ‘sex offenders’, for LIFE, when these porno photos are found on their computers!! Photos and web-cam videos that they had NO part of creating. Courts do not understand this, and when they are found on a computer (often when believed deleted) just the fact that this filth (often involving minors, unknown to the viewer) is even ON the defendant’s computer- deems them ‘guilty’- while the real culprits who run these porno sites continue unscathed. These days it can be legally incriminating to even ‘search’ certain subjects on google. Google should make sure that websites are staying within the limits of the law- when it comes to pornography.

    When a judge sees these porno pictures found on YOUR computer, you WILL be assumed ‘guilty as charged’.

    So- in that sense…yes, Google is evil by willingly allowing these sites to be brought up in ‘search’ without knowing if they are legal or not.

  • http://www.popularity.com.au henry

    People need to take responsibility of their own actions and if they don’t like Google they can stop using their sites and services. It’s perfectly possible to use the internet without Google. It’s actually fun to use other search engines! Having said that, when a company abuses their monopolistic powers the competition watchdog needs to take strong action. At least the EU is doing something about it.

  • Ken R

    A tip of the cap for all the work Google and its staffers have put into becoming a leader in search engine technology and efficiency.
    I do not, however, want or need to have my search results taylored to my personal searching habits in the interest of “improving my internet experience.” I resent the fact that someone monitors my internet browsing patterns and shapes what I’m exposed to. Thank you very much but I don’t want your help to be exposed to more marketing minutiae. Please find another way to sell your ads.

  • http://www.rwrinnovations.com Ron Nixon

    I have always respected Google and felt I had a fighting chance to rank against the big corporations. That is changing. In most searches for my products Amazon comes as #1 either in paid search or as #1 in organic search. In a few cases I’ve seen them in the first 5 organic slots. And, now they are showing up at the bottom of the page as well.
    Sometimes they don’t have the product, they just pass the customer onto one of their clones who is selling books for a penny + shipping. Their book descriptions are not unique but they still rank at the top of almost every search along with the other big corporations.

    I don’t believe that Google is evil, just that they, like other corporations, are making money any way that they can.

  • http://Liebenshund.com Rick

    Being that they give, all the info they collect on us to Homeland Security…. yup they are EVIL

  • chase

    Interesting comments, CIA front group, a Government spy, slur campains by the networks… And the G.as.O.il.P.arty… I haven’t checked into any of that, but there could be some truths to some of it. Our I wouldn’t put any thing past any of those mentioned more accurately.

    Personally, I have noticed a huge change in search results when using Google lately. I have to go 4 to 6 pages deep to get part all the ads.

    To the average search engine user Googles “product”or at least one of them, is their search results.

    A claim, as was used and used way too often these days I might add, that Google or any company “isn’t a charity but rather a business” as the excuse for excessive billing or a cheap product or less than honorable business practice is… foy lack of a better term, pathetic on the part of the company or company rep.

    Googles search results, “product” has become cheap and much less a desirable product, at least in my experience as of late.

    I’m shrouded they used the term “evil” on their toss, I didn’t know that til now. Since Bushes e excessive use and basterdizing of the term. I wouldn’t have chosen that term. Unless… One goes along with the G.as and O.il P.arty thinking…

    Plus it just has way to much theologian conitations these days for my taste when used in reference to things like TOS’s and supposed terrorists.

    Is Google “evil”? Hell,i can’t answer that. Are they interested more in profit margins than quality, being used by Governmemt for spying, or the CIA, or is there a slur campaigne against them, I don’t know, as my search results using Google to find out, only pulls up ads… so…

  • Betty L Johnson

    I find that nearly any product I search for takes me to Target or Amazon- and 9 out of 10 times, they do not even HAVE the item. I find this very irritating. I do not want to be led on a search- that Google thinks is best for me- due to previous searches. This ‘Best Match’ thing just doesn’t work. I’m finding it harder and harder to find items, articles, etc. that I’m actually searching for. Sort of like a ‘bait and switch’ thing going on. Also, I find Google extremely hard to understand and navigate and not being able to speak to a HUMAN, for directions and help- only adds to the problems.

  • DMC

    They should replace the picture in the dictionary next to evil with GOOGLE. It is an evil empire. It has destroyed advertising for the smaller sites while raking in millions for themselves and the super sites. While a brilliant business model, there ae such lines that should not be crosssed, greed, glutony to name two.

  • http://healing-voice.blogspot.com Ken

    Google’s ranking had to start somewhere and at that point, IT decided who to put on top, even before there were any search criteria to go by. So if your site is on the bottom, nobody will ever find it and it has nothing to do with quality content either. It has to do with who was on top first, and who was on top first had nothing to do with any search rankings because there weren’t any. Just because you can get a bunch of back links and you know how to satisfy Google’s SEO requirements, doesn’t mean that your site has quality content. It just means that they didn’t pick you to be on top, so you are at the bottom instead. So if you are on top, more people click on your site, regardless of whether your site is quality or not. So then you keep your top ranking.

    I liked things a lot better when the only way to find a company was through Directory Assistance, because then your business was listed in a category and then by alphabetical preference, so it left the playing field level. Who is Google to come along and decide who gets put ahead of anyone else? Because it is their ratings that decide who is on top and who is on the bottom.

    We don’t need search rankings that decide who is on top and who isn’t. We just need to be listed so that we can be found, with no preference given to anyone. After all, Google is no expert on quality content or on anything really. Just because they have decided how to rank your content doesn’t mean anything.

    Adsense for content is a joke. I don’t know how anyone, except for Google of course, makes any money off Adsense ads on their site. I’ve had blogs for 6 years and have had Adsense for content ads on all of them and during that time, I’ve only make a total of $10 and one of my blogs, being a Blogger blog which is also owned by Google, has rated high in the rankings for my keywords and still not made any money to speak of.

    In my opinion, all of the search engines need to go back to being listing services, instead of ranking sites, because they can’t possibly know what is quality content or not, especially by using algorithms, instead of human beings who are experts in all areas of subject matter, to judge them. You can’t tell me that Google’s system is superior to human knowledge and experience.

    Yes Google is EVIL!!!!

  • Martin9325

    Before Google came along we did very well, made a good living. At first Google liked us, we had lots of links and were providing a service that the public wanted and liked. Google came up with Adsense and invited us to be one of the first to join, which we did and that just increased our revenues. But all this time Google was monitoring what we did and suddenly, wham, Google is offering the sort of specialist search that we had been offering since 1994. I have diversified and managed to stay in business, but the original web site is toast, Google just do it all now. I am not sure they are evil, but they are certainly ruthless and monopolistic in attitude.

  • Dana

    I don’t know about the term “Evil”, but I can say that I very much dislike what they have been doing lately. I don’t like targeted advertisements, or advertisements at all, but I understand that that is just the way things work. We get something for free, but we have to see ads. That is life. But there is a point where a company starts to be overly intrusive and that is a point that Google has crossed. I like Google, so don’t like the idea that that are crossing that line. So, I commend any effort, even exaggerated effort, that will suggest to them that they should not be doing what they are doing. I mean, when I hear the stories about the Evil Overlords over at Google roasting babies on skewers…well, I know that isn’t true…but even though that is not true, it is still true that they are taking the company to a bad place. So, I could care less if the “Evil Overlords” over at Google are feeling a bit of the same fire that they roast those babies on. Google has to stop what they are doing. It is the same business models we had with Comcast. Which is why you have all the “I hate Comcast” sites online. They take their efforts to eeeck every penny out of their advertising effort, but they take it to the point where they are being extremely intrusive to their customers. Good on you customers for doing what you are supposed to do…cancel your subscription, stop using the service (as much as you can), that will cost Google money and costing companies money is the only honest, righteous, good, and natural way for a Capitalist society to adjust the behavior of those that provide goods and services. Again, its not that all the other search engines and such are not doing similar things. Its just that there is a limit to what they can do before they start to become a problem for their customers/users. Google has crossed that line. Punish away customers/users…that is the American way.

  • http://www.essexportal.co.uk/ Jon

    No, of course they are not evil. In the last year Google has done a lot to filter out spam from the search index, and no doubt it is planning to do more. Panda may have resulted in some job losses, but there are not holes in the search results, so other companies and websites are doing better and may be taking on staff. Where Google has failed is letter search engine optimisers push newer and sometimes poorly supported sites up in the SERPs while more established businesses have suffered. They appear to be tackling this problem. The end result will be a fairer search engine with a more even distribution of websites listed.

    • http://www.pethair-vacuum.com/ Annerly King

      Obviously someone has done well out of Panda!

  • Sandy

    Google has always adjusted their search algorithms to benefit corporations. They’ve always been evil. How in the world can anybody believe it’s good business for google to make money on ads – but bad business for you or I to do the exact same thing. When they put TripAdvisor at the head of the pack, they destroyed my business. How can anybody think that was just an accident – and that their industry isn’t next.

  • Steve Kinney

    “Bad PR?” Lest we forget, PR is an acronym for Public Relations, a term coined by Edward Bernays as a replacement for Propaganda. The “Don’t be evil” catch phrase is propaganda. The general public, for better or worse, considers tracking and profiling Internet users to be “evil,” and that is the whole purpose of Google. Users are not Google’s customers, they are Google’s product, for sale to their real customers in the advertising and market research industries.

    The general public also considers alliances between intelligence agencies and commercial surveillance services like Google to be “evil.” Way back before anyone but geeks had heard of Google, there was a bit of controversy over the National Security Agency providing consulting services to Google, helping them design the architecture for their server farms and data mining operations. Is it proper for a Federal agency to provide valuable (some would say decisive) assistance to a private company in a competitive market? And, more to the point, what is Google giving the NSA in return? Could it be free and unrestricted access to all the user data Google owns, via advanced data mining tools built into Google’s infrastructure? I would bet on it.

    The intimate relationship between Google and the NSA continues. EPIC’s FOIA request for documents on this relationship is being stonewalled, and the excuses given demonstrate that there is definitely “something to hide” in that relationship.

    Corporations are not evil. They are mindless nonhuman constructs, programmed to pursue profit and growth – and nothing else. But in the human perspective, they often use methods, and produce outcomes, that could be considered “evil.” To the extent that Google attempts to cultivate a kindly and benevolent public face while doing things that the public would consider “evil” if they knew about them, yes, Google is “bringing on bad PR” because they give us hooks to hang our own propaganda on.

  • http://hyperclics.com Pierre

    As a monopoly unilaterally deciding “what” is a good business practice (or anything else), G has gotten to a point where it is even more “evil”. No one can determine the size and format of (business or human interactive) reality. Not even a full-fledged government can. Human worldwide culture is too broad, diversified and varied to be channelled in such a limited way. That will bring G down sooner, rather that later, when REAL PEOPLE loose their livelihood. “Occupy G” will become the only POPULAR OPTION. Look at G’s way of handling AdWords… In my experience, WE THE PEOPLE must ALWAYS reverse any simple (and overtly oversimplified) MARKETING PROPOSITION invented by some immature college kids way back when un-educated idiocy was a hip value. As an Orwellian, “Do no evil” speaks LOUD & CLEAR to me.

  • fred

    Evil? I don’t think so. Just because a company gives information to the Chinese government that gets people arrested, put in jail, tortured, and possibly killed so that company can protect profits and their position in China, that doesn’t make them evil. Just ask management.

  • http://deanslawdictionary.com Paul Owen

    Since Google was formed it has been nothing but smoke and mirrors and lies. It has taken almost 15 years and finally they admitted their page rank system was nothing but crap but “now they have a page rank system that will actually reward real sites and true content.” They have spawned a fake industry revolving around SEO and have harmed tens of millions of people and vendors and in the process have scammed billions of dollars based on internet hype and bs. Most of what Google has been able to get away with is the fault of the lame ass press who doesn’t understand anything technical and has no idea of what the truth is. Most consumer high tech is hype, bs and fraud and the press supports it because they make a lot of money as part of the scam. I mean who would rate a company highly when it takes 15 years to admit they lied and had no idea what they were doing and that their base technology was worthless.

  • http://healing-voice.blogspot.com Ken

    All you need to rank high in Google is to have your keyword phrase in your URL, in your site title, in your site’s description and then repeated throughout every paragraph in your site content. That does not produce quality content; it produces boring repetition. Any good writer knows that repetition of your main idea in every possible place that you can have it is not good quality content. While it may be great for advertising and ranking, it doesn’t do much else.

  • http://codename-seo.blogspot.pt @Alf_Almeida

    Yes..Googgle can be evil, as i mention here (http://codename-seo.blogspot.pt/2012/01/backstabbing-of-google.html), seems that Google have no respect for business.

  • Robert in Canada

    No company is evil. A company is simply an inanimate legal and tax structure.

    A company can’t be evil or good or have any human characteristics.

    Every company has one or more people working for it who might be considered (to some degree) as being evil.

  • Gloria

    Absolutely. Yes, way to much snooping around and following me wherever I go. This is over the top INTRUSIVE. …and their purpose is??? I wonder. They are not helping me and I don’t need their suggestions on what I need and when. Get out of my life. Scary stuff.

  • http://karras-bommer.blogspot.com Karras Bommer

    My experience and my opinion of Google gets better every day. For one thing, for a corporation, it seems intent on bringing “good-will” back into the American business model. About the opposite of evil. Success breeds jealousy, jealousy breeds malicious gossip, thus the current “evil” wave.

  • http://airtravelcenter.com/ Steven Brungard

    Since GOOG went public, I have witnessed a steady move to the dark side. Google can cloak its moves in terms like best relevance, best products, best services, best tools and many more. But when you lift that cloak, you begin to see the benefits that Google has garnered by providing those bests, as defined by Google.

  • James45

    Google is a monopoly of bureaucrats. Need I say more?

  • http://www.captaincyberzone.com Cap’n Cyberzone

    When first I saw Google’s company motto (code of conduct), “Don’t be evil” I was taken aback a little. My first thoughts were about the thought and/or subconscious thought behind having such a non-relative, non sequitur. I mean, what the hell does doing evil have to do with operating a search engine? And what the hell is a “google” … a bastardization of the math term “googol” (or according to Wikipedia the name of a clown character in British children’s author Enid Blyton’s 1942 book, “Circus Days Again”).

    I’d say that Google lost its innocence once it shook hands with the venture capital firms (1999) and then lost its soul* when it shook hands with the Bankers and went “public” (2004).

    * Aug., 2011– Google agreed to a $500 million settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice for illegally allowing online Canadian pharmacies to advertise drugs to U.S. consumers (it was found that illegal drug sellers world-wide were taking advantage of this relationship).

    “Evil Is As Evil Does”

  • http://sites.google.com/site/justsayingmypiece/ Charlie

    Well, there’s a lot of tension here; from both sides of the debate, too. I think we know that Google is way to big to not be affected by the power and money and influence they wield. It is unfortunate, but they are no longer just a few young college guys with a dream, who nearly called the company “BackRub” instead of “Google” (now, how would THAT have sounded?).

    Anyway, I think it’s pretty clear that Google, like many or most large companies, will be schmoozed by everyone seeking their influence and power…including governments and law-enforcement entities. It is no secret that our privacy is pretty much gone these days, and we know “big brother” is everywhere already, so I guess we’d all better learn to ‘behave ourselves’, eh? That’s what they (whoever “they” are) want, right? And, if we wish to stay in the game, I guess we either have to accept that, or make enough real noise about it.

    Even though SOPA, PIPA, ACTA (et al.) may be sort of ‘in limbo’ at the moment, I think we can rest assured they have not gone very far away, and I expect they’ll return, though maybe in another ‘disguise’; and, before we can say “Hey, what’s up?”, they will be enacted and implemented right under our collective (broken/bloody?) noses. I’m just sayin’…

  • http://gocabrera.com Adrian

    So Google’s code of conduct says “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.” So putting their products and or services higher in search rankings is NOT unbiased is not putting Google before users needs and not necessarily providing the “best products and services”?

    The phrase “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely” comes to mind. Google is using its dominance in search to gain overall control of the web and web users to increase it’s bottom line from advertising revenue by all means possible with no consideration for the user or the small business’s it puts out of business. By allowing large corporations with huge budgets or its own products to always rise to the top of search results in is distorting the market and denying real and useful businesses the opportunity to be found by those searching the web….so yes Google is now evil and now this Code of Conduct is merely propaganda with no intent behind it at all

  • http://inthepinkconsultants.co.uk John G

    Get real guys, Google isn’t evil it’s just become disconnected from its customers. I admit I don’t use Google anymore and actively recommend my customers use other search engines but only because I feel that Google has lost its way.

  • Ken

    I don’t know if evil is the right word. But you have to realize a few things and put it all in perspective.

    Yes, Google can do what they want with their business. Lately, de-indexing private blog networks is something they could have done a long time ago. De-indexing sites that sell links, and it sure took them a long time to stop running ads for those services.

    We all know the only reason so much of this is happening is due to Google’s desire to compete with Facebook.

    Basically, Google uses people (businesses) until it is no longer convenient and then changes policies and destroys businesses and livelihoods.

    Yes, it is business and it is a harsh world. But it’s also about trust, and Google has gone pretty far to destroy trust in them.

    It’s not evil to be selfish. But it’s reprehensible to use thousands, if not millions, of people like a soulless politician. Use people and throw them away.

    Businesses are not throw-away commodities when you remember there are people, families, children, etc behind all those domain names.

  • https://www.searchen.com John Colascione

    “Don’t be evil” was the very old innovative cool and fun Google. What we’ve got today is the new improved, heavily regulated, publically traded, money motivated, privacy elliminating data mining Google. But don’t worry, it’s just to serve us with better more targeted ads.

  • mark

    Ever since google did away with android market and putting all of their crap on my phone, that is surely EVIL!!!!! I dont want google play and everything in a “cloud” I want it where I can control it, not them!!!

  • http://www.spyimplants.webs.com don muntean

    What is this attack on Google? They are not evil and they have to make a buck – some people just don’t understand what a real violation of privacy looks like – check out my boycott website [which has top ranking in Google!] to see what real issues of concern look like:

    http://www.spyimplants.webs.com

    I think that Google fair and trustworthy. As for targeted advertising – after being inundated with mindless commercials on television for so many years – I could care less.

    Google is not evil…

  • Disgruntled former AdWords user

    Google are thieves. Their AdWords framework is dodgy. Parameters would change, and paused adverts would unpause themselves. I lost a significant amount of money for a few clicks because of their faulty website. That is why I no longer use them.

  • http://Botcrawl.com Sean

    Microsoft is definitely helping the world, always doing the RIGHT thing, thinking about others, donating more money than they individually generate for income…. THEN there is Google…. GREED has overtaken everything Google once was excited about. Now they only see money without innovation. Competition has become their first operation.

  • http://www.absolutewebworks.com/ Absolute Webworks

    Google, like any publicly owned company is there for it’s shareholders. If it means taking advantage of the small guy then they will. It boils down to the all mighty dollar.

  • http://www.LAokay.com Steven G

    I think the “do no evil” mantra is looked upon by Google as a weighted system, much like their search algorithms are. If Google is 20% evil and 80% good, then Google doesn’t see itself as evil. Therefore Google could fail entirely with one product or service and it’s got plenty more that succeed. They could harm industry on one area, but help another succeed. They’re simply diversifying themselves so much that it has to take a toll on their available resources, especially since Google always seems to tell you they devote 70% of the company to search. Everything else that Google does has to fight over the 30% that is left over, including new projects and current projects.