Although one part of Google’s code of conduct is “don’t be evil,” it is clear that over time this transitioned from a mindset of corporate behavior to an outdated catchphrase, perhaps the same way that Johnny Depp refers to the pirate code as “…more of a guideline, really” which has no real meaning, just something to fool people outside of the loop.
The website Google Watch has been tracking Google’s behavior for a long time now, so if you are inclined to find out some the badness Google has been up to, that’s the place to look.
The final straw for me, though was reported on today’s Drudge Report, and linked to an article on The Smoking Gun, where basically Google says we’re allowed to trespass and photograph on private property, because “Complete Privacy Does Not Exist.” If they can fly a satellite over your house and take pictures that way, clearly they they are also allowed to drive up your driveway, to your house, take pictures that they photographed illegally and without permission, and post them for the entire world to see (unless you live in China).
So, as far as I see it, this is the beginning of a long gradual downfall (or at least flatness, in terms of stock price) for Google, the way Microsoft began ten years ago. The more their primary cash cow ceases to amaze investors, the more they will continue to thrash in the industry, making more mistakes in the effort to push up stock prices a little bit higher. Also expect them to use their size to bully around competitors the same way Microsoft has in the past.
Does this mean I will stop using Google today? Probably not. There are plenty of other technology companies I hate, but I still use their product out of necessity (or laziness). Although Microsoft is another company I really don’t like much, I still use XP and love Office. I hate facebook too, but I still have an account open just so my friends can keep in touch, but I’ve stopped posting information or pictures since they showed their colors in the beacon fiasco. Although I’m basically bound to my Gmail account now, if the service started at this point I would probably opt out. Although I will still use Google’s services for the time being, I am no longer at all enthusiastic about it.
Google, you used to be young, cool, and sexy. Welcome to the real corporate world. You’re all grown up!