Beyond Good and Google

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I don’t use Gmail, but Henry Farrell does and he’s pretty unhappy with its latest iteration:

It used to be that Google claimed that their motto was ‘don’t be evil.’ Now it appears to be ‘I’m sorry, but we have to be evil to compete with Facebook.’

Just out of curiosity, did anyone ever really believe that “don’t be evil” stuff? I mean, Google’s a big corporation. They’ve been a big public corporation for nearly eight years. Big public corporations are in business to make money and enhance their stockholders’ wealth, and that’s that. Google has long been big enough and profitable enough that they could sort of pretend otherwise now and again, but even that was only bound to last as long as their competition remained weak and ignorable. That’s no longer the case, and Google is responding normally.

I happen to agree that Google’s new design esthetic is terrible, and I also hate the idea of features being deliberately removed in order to force feed everyone into Google+. All of us who hate this should fight back, as Henry says. Still, there’s nothing evil about what Google is doing. They’re just doing what big corporations do.

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