Google – being the primary research tool for almost the entire world – has aimed to build its brand on trust and a high standard of ethics. This led the company to include the phrase “don’t be evil” as one of its key codes of conduct since 2000. When Google was reorganized under a new parent company, Alphabet, in 2015, itt assumed a slightly adjusted version of the motto – “do the right thing.”
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The phrase has been deeply incorporated into Google’s company culture—so much so that a version of the phrase has served as the Wi-Fi password on the shuttles that Google uses to ferry its employees to its Mountain View headquarters, sources told Gizmodo two years ago.
However, the phrase was inexplicably removed from the codes of conduct in 2018
The original text read: “‘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.
Google news: Google removed ‘Don’t be evil’ (Image: getty)
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“But it’s also about doing the right thing more generally – following the law, acting honorably, and treating co-workers with courtesy and respect.”
The new version read: “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.
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“We set the bar that high for practical as well as aspirational reasons: Our commitment to the highest standards helps us hire great people, build great products, and attract loyal users.”
The company later updated the text again, this time including one reference to the company’s unofficial motto—the final line of the document is still: “And remember… don’t be evil, and if you see something that you think isn’t right – speak up!”
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Coincidentally, the move came as a dozen Google employees resigned after the company continued its association with the US military.
They cited ethical concerns and warned that autonomous weapons directly contradicted the firm’s famous “don’t be evil” motto.