Google: Oh go ahead, be evil; you know you want to…


Google, the info-cloud juggernaut, has just pulled the classic ruse of every company seeking art for free by soliciting well-known illustrators to contribute work to the “skins” of the company’s new web browser for “exposure.”  No money, just “exposure.”

This is a familiar ploy to anybody in our business, usually coming from two-bit outfits scrambling to survive, or just plain unscrupulous concerns who know they can take advantage of artists with the promise of “exposure” or “links.”

My stock answer to these requests is usually something along the lines of “when my supermarket accepts links for food, and my bank accepts exposure on my website for mortgage payments, I will be happy to provide my work to you on the same terms.”

According to the NY Times, a lot of illustrators are refusing the offer and complaining loudly. Let’s stand behind our brush-and-pencil-wielding brethren.  I might actually try Microsoft’s new search engine (hmmm, out of the frying pan, into the fire???).

This behavior, by the way, comes  from a company that is making hundreds of billions of dollars and whose unofficial slogan is “Don’t Be Evil.” Oh, pass me that well-used cup of cynicism, so that I may take another deep drink….

According to Wikipedia, Google’s unofficial company motto, Don’t Be Evil, came about this way:

“Don’t be evil” is the informal corporate motto (or slogan) of Google, originally suggested by Google employees Paul Buchheit and Amit Pate  at a meeting. Buchheit, the creator of Gmail, said he “wanted something that, once you put it in there, would be hard to take out,” adding that the slogan was “also a bit of a jab at a lot of the other companies, especially our competitors, who at the time, in our opinion, were kind of exploiting the users to some extent.”

“Don’t be evil” is said to recognize that large corporations often maximize short-term profits with actions that destroy long-term brand image and competitive position. Supposedly, by installing a Don’t Be Evil culture the corporation establishes a baseline for decision making that can enhance the trust and image of the corporation that outweighs short-term gains from violating the Don’t Be Evil principles.

So soon they forget….

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Cheap, Cheap Cheap!

  2. I always laugh at the Google “Don’t be Evil” credo. It’s a naive and deceptively simple very statement, that fails to consider the nature of evil. What is an evil act? How does someone become evil, or commit an evil act? Frequently, evil comes from the failure to realize the consequences of what one is doing, a failure to empathize if you will. And this is precisely where Google errs, most famously when it allowed its search results to be censored in China.

Leave a Reply

Close Menu