For the last few years, Google has put much less emphasis on their “do no evil” mantra. The company that started off as the underdog and grew through a combination of simplicity, innovation, and positive buzz has shifted their stances on these foundational concepts and turned towards a more general approach to being a business.
In short, they’ve turned evil. Why? Because they can.
Between owning a huge chunk of the online advertising world, being the driving force behind the majority of smartphones in the world, having sites like YouTube in their stable, and holding enough cash to buy small countries, they no longer need to avoid controversy. As a company, they are powerful enough to take on governments around the world. They can also take on religions if they wanted to and it would barely be a blip on their radar if they lost millions of faithful users.
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The latest bit of controversy stems from the selection of honoring Cesar Chavez on Easter. The labor activist would have turned 86 on Easter Sunday if he were still alive and Google put him up instead of the Easter Bunny or Jesus Christ. This angered many Christians around the world, causing some to declare that they were moving to Bing over the snub. Google’s response: they haven’t had an Easter doodle in the past and there’s no need to make a big deal out of it.
What religious groups, watchdog organizations, and even most governments don’t understand is that Google is embedded. They are in. They are the embodiment of search. They power more smartphones than anyone else. They have more people interacting with them in some way every hour than most other websites get in their entire existence on the internet.
Controversies like this – child’s play to Google. This is the company that got away with snooping on people’s WiFi. They took on the FTC in an antitrust investigation and escaped unharmed. They are battling an entire continent and there’s a good chance they’ll win there.
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Google doesn’t care about negative press because they know that we’ll still use them in some form or fashion. They don’t need Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, or any other religious group to support them because the individuals will still surf the net, they’ll still see Google ads plastered everywhere, they’ll still buy Android devices, they still watch YouTube videos, and they’ll still be using Google despite threats on Twitter.
There may come a time when Google is not as dominant as it is today, when weaknesses in their armor will become apparent, or when they’ll make a major mistake that sets them back, but that day is not today. Then again, that day may never come and Google might finally achieve world domination.