"Can we trust Google with our Secrets?" asks Adi Ignatius in this week's Time magazine cover story. It's an intriguing question given Google's continued expansion into our workplaces and lives. As the search giant quietly amasses mounds of data, while trying to dominate on and offline advertising, Ignatius is right to wonder how serious Google really is about things like privacy and security. But sadly, the story seems more concerned with the Google cool factor -- Legos! Free gourmet lunches! Matching lab coats! -- than it does with exploring what it takes to run an ethical company. Meanwhile, recent accusations of widespread clickfraud, which, as our August 2004 story described, may significantly raise advertising costs for small companies (and make Google even richer), aren't even mentioned.
Motto aside, Google does indeed seem to be have good intentions, but the story makes me wonder if "Don't be evil" isn't just another flashy marketing gimmick courtesy of the Googleplex.
Last updated: Feb 16, 2006
Senior contributing writer MAX CHAFKIN has profiled companies such as Yelp, Zappos, Twitter,
Threadless, and Tesla for the magazine. He lives in Brooklyn, New York. @chafkin