As part of Google’s transformation into Alphabet Inc., the company on Friday released a new code of conduct that does away with the iconic “Don’t be evil” slogan that was first revealed when the company went public back in 2004.
Indeed, Google’s S-1 filing ahead of its 2004 IPO famously included the following blurb:
Don’t be evil. We believe strongly that in the long term, we will be better served — as shareholders and in all other ways — by a company that does good things for the world even if we forgo some short term gains.
While the “don’t be evil” moniker is obviously well-intentioned, the slogan provided easy fodder for critics to call out the search giant as hypocritical anytime it took actions that were deemed to be even partially controversial or not in the best interst of users.
Most famously, former Apple CEO Steve Jobs called the slogan “bullshit” back in 2010 during a heated talk about Apple’s ongoing rivalry with the search giant.
So with “don’t be evil” not making the transition over to Alphabet, what’s in its place? Well, Alphabet’s new code of conduct simply requests that employees “should do the right thing.”
The change was originally spotted by The Wall Street Journal which posted the following screenshots comparing the two different codes.
Of course, we shoult point out that Google’s own code of conduct remains unchanged. While perhaps confusing, recall that Google is now a wholly owned subsidiary under the Alphabet umbrella. In other words, these are technically two different companies now.
As a few folks on Twitter have pointed out, the general nature of Alphabet’s code of conduct leaves the door open for the company’s many subsidiaries to come up with more tailored codes of conduct of their own.
As a final point of interest, Danny Sullivan of Marketing Land put together the following list of Alphabet subsidiaries a few months back.
- Calico (the folks who want you to live forever)
- Fiber (high-speed internet)
- Google (Search, Maps, YouTube, Android, Ads, Apps)
- Google Ventures (venture capital business)
- Google Capital (investment fund)
- Google X (auto-driving cars, Google Glass, internet by balloon, moonshots)
- Life Sciences (the glucose-sensing contact lens people)
- Nest (smoke alarms, home cameras, thermostats & connected home devices)