Google has undergone a number of major changes over the years, not the least of which is the two founders stepping down from their roles. Many of those changes have caused the company to be virtually “unrecognizable” to many Google veterans, according to CNBC.
For many workers who spoke with CNBC, 2018 was a pivotal year that showed how much things had changed. Project Dragonfly became public knowledge, exposing Google’s attempt to build a censored search engine for China. In a company that had long treasured a reputation for open communication with its employees, the project had been kept on a need-to-know basis.
Despite ending the project when employees expressed concern about the ethics of it, for many the damage had already been done.
“There’s no way a few years before, they would have had a secret project with these kinds of ethical concerns,” Raph Levien, a former level 6 engineer who left Google after 11 years, told CNBC. “It crossed the line and felt misleading. It definitely felt like this was Google changing.”
Another factor that has hurt the company’s reputation internally is how it has handled sexual abuse allegations, paying executives millions in severance packages despite allegations. The size of the company has also played a role, as it is much harder for a company of “more than 100,000 workers, many of whom are contractors instead of full-time employees,” to maintain the culture it started with.
One thing is clear, based on CNBC’s report: For a company that is already in the spotlight for privacy issues and antitrust concerns, an internal breakdown of the very culture that made Google what it is, is the last thing the company needs.