What pushed me over the edge with Google, however, was clearly the way the company kowtowed to the tyrants in Beijing out of a sense of pure greed.
When China told Google Internet searches by its people should not bring up pro-democracy and pro-freedom information that could be used to stir hope in the hearts of its population of 1 billion slaves, the company dutifully complied.
Remarkable for a company whose slogan is, unbelievably, “Don’t Be Evil.”
But I don’t want to trash Google today. I’ll leave that to a chapter in my book.
I didn’t come to bury Google today, I actually came to praise it – conditionally, that is.
It seems the “Don’t Be Evil” people are actually working with the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum to shed light on the genocidal atrocities in Sudan.
The goal of the project is to inform and motivate users to help governments and other groups deal with the humanitarian crisis there. It is estimated that more than 2 million people have been uprooted and 200,000 killed in Sudan since 2003.
That is certainly a worthwhile and commendable project.
Google’s contribution to the cause will allow those who have downloaded free software to focus on satellite images of the Darfur region. Flaming icons represent destroyed villages and tents represent refugee camps.
Google even enhanced the resolution for certain areas of the region so people can see for themselves the burned remnants of house and churches.
What can I say? This is a good thing – uncharacteristically non-evil.
Why would a company with no moral bearings do something so wonderful?
I thought about this. And I think I know the answer.
Google does not care about winning the Sudan market. It is a no-lose effort for Google – lots of good publicity, no downside.
But to prove to you that Google is still the immoral, evil company I describe in “Stop the Presses!,” let me give you an example of how the company will not use this same technology to shed light on another equivalent atrocity.
Google’s buddies in the government of China, a market the company does care about, have also forcibly moved millions of people for its own purposes. In fact, this forced population relocation effort is still under way in many parts of the country – even in the nation’s capital of Beijing as China prepares to host the Olympics.
These horrific human rights abuses have received even less public attention and media scrutiny than the genocide in Darfur.
And you can bet Google will not use its technological prowess to sharpen satellite images so the whole world can see what the brutes in Beijing have done to victimize their own populace.
In other words, Google will expose evil to the world if there is no cost to the company. But if exposing evil conflicts with Google’s business plan, then the company will become an active participant in that evil – as it does with China.
So I guess we’re right back where we started. I’m glad Google is not condoning evil everywhere. I’m glad it is not covering up evil for the sake of covering up evil. But what can you say about a company that puts its bottom line first and human decency a distant second?