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I strongly disagree. Google wants us to use its services because at its core is a bunch of engineers that simply want to make the world better.



What Google "wants" as an entity is different from what the individual component humans want.

(i.e. the agent 'Google' is distinct from the agents that it is composed of)


Google is strongly guided by the agents that shepherd it.


Are you aware that several Googlers resigned after a petition signed by 10% of the entire engineering workforce was ignored by management?

See https://plus.google.com/100010618263697835406/posts/azTW8hvw... for details.


Would your complaint sound strange if it was worded, "Are you aware that several Googlers resigned after a petition ignored by 90% of the workforce was ignored by management?"

Ultimately, some policy on some random social networking site nobody uses is not much of a big deal. If you don't like the policy, don't use Google+. Easy.


"It seems that the G+ team is currently overwhelmed with technical issues of the current system -- that, combined with Vic's attitude, means that nymwars is not going to be addressed anytime soon. If engineers can scrape together 20% time to implement possible solutions and manage to convince decision-makers to let them roll out changes, we might see something."

It sounds less like it was ignored and more like it isn't a priority for a resource stretched team.


You mean agents like Eric Schmidt, that declare online privacy as dead?


Online privacy never existed. If it is online it can be leaked, stolen, or shared.


People still believe in a benevolent google after the App Engine scandal? Let me ask you something; what would Google have to do before you finally believe they're just a publicly traded company?


The App Engine pricing issues are anything but a scandal.


Really? Getting a bunch of developers locked into a platform and then raising prices sometimes 100 times more than it was? What would they have to do for it to be a scandal for you?

If Apple suddenly came out and said "right, from today on we want 75% of your sales instead of 30%" would you have the same reaction?


Terrible comparison. A dick move maybe but not a scandal.

Google App Engine:

* Not the dominant hosting platform. Not even close to being the dominant.

* Maybe a million dollar product. Certainly not a billion dollar product.

* In beta/preview until just now with developers knowing pricing had not been set or could be changed.

* Optimizing your application properly can negate most if not all of the pricing increase.

* Open source alternative framework available if you want to keep using the same APIs.

Apple App Store:

* Dominant market position with only the Android Market coming close.

* Billion dollar product.

* Existed as fully launched for several years.

* Set percentage. You can't change it other then making your app free.

* No open source alternative that supports the same APIs.

Beta/preview products can and will change.


the first motivation of any for profit corporation, especially one as large and successful as Google, is profit. That is their entire reason for existence, don't fool yourself into believing otherwise.


People like to say this, maybe believing it fulfills some deep-seated need for cynicism, or makes the speaker feel wise and worldly. But what is your actual argument in support of this? Just saying it does not make it true.

If profit is the only motivation for decisions at Google, why did it pull out of China? I'm sure you're cynical and wise about that too, but here's what I can tell you. I saw Sergey up on stage saying the same things he said in this interview (http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/03/22/interview-sergey-br...) and he got fiery and emotional about it. This is a guy who grew up in the Soviet Union until he was 6 and for him it is a very personal and ideological issue.

This corporations-as-profit-seeking-automata meme is old and tired. At the end of the day it's people who make decisions, and just as in every aspect of life people can have complex motivations for the decisions that they make.


I never said profit was their only motivation, but it is the reason they are a corporation, and not a charity.

I refer you to the comment above by jey

  What Google "wants" as an entity is different from what the individual 
  component humans want.
Although Sergey is an obviously important influence at Google, he is not Google.


You said profit was the "first" motivation. You haven't even justified that. Saying that a corporation has to at least break even to avoid being a charity is a far cry from your previous grandstanding. Just because a corporation has to make money doesn't mean that money is the "first" motivation for every decision. It doesn't explain why Google (not Sergey, Google) pulled out of China.


Um...they chose to go into China in the first place, and they didn't do it for charity work. A lot of people thought that was pretty evil.

In any case, the parent doesn't have to justify anything, because he's stating a relatively well-known argument: in the US, there's an obligation for corporate executives to maximize shareholder value. This point is debated (http://www.linkedin.com/answers/law-legal/corporate-law/corp...), but not to the extent that you're claiming.


They pulled out of China because the government was hacking them! Do you think they had some knight-in-shining-armour reason? That was all just PR.


I never said profit was their only motivation, but it is the reason they are a corporation, and not a charity.

Not necessarily. To parrot one of the other posters here: saying it doesn't make it true.

You could also argue that being a charity would be a very slow and inefficient means to achieving many of the things Google has set out to do. Being a for-profit corp gets them there faster and with fewer distractions not core to their purpose. I'd even venture to guess that it wouldn't be possible for Google to do what it does as a non-profit.

Sure, profit is a motivation, but it's certainly not the only (or even necessarily primary) motivation.


An interesting take on the subject by pg:

http://www.paulgraham.com/good.html

"That was a surprising realization. Companies often claim to be benevolent, but it was surprising to realize there were purely benevolent projects that had to be embodied as companies to work."


>why did it pull out of China?

Do you mean "why did they make a big rant about pulling out of China and then not actually do it until they were literally cyber-attacked by the government"? Google was never all that big in China anyway. I'm sure their whole strategy around this was to get gullible people to buy into the "Don't do evil" nonsense.

>Sergey up on stage saying the same things he said in this interview and he got fiery and emotional about it.

Yea? So do politicians. Very passionate about what they're talking about until it comes time to vote. Then they follow their wallets.

>This is a guy who grew up in the Soviet Union until he was 6 and for him it is a very personal and ideological issue.

I know plenty of people who grew up in the Soviet Union. What exactly do you think goes on there that makes the "lucky few" who escape want to change the world? Maybe it did have some profound effect on him but it sounds more likely to be simple positioning. Getting people to think he really cares will cause them to defend him every time his company betrays that trust.

>This corporations-as-profit-seeking-automata meme is old and tired. At the end of the day it's people who make decisions, and just as in every aspect of life people can have complex motivations for the decisions that they make.

It may well be old and tired but it's how the world works. The only thing a CEO can get in trouble for not doing is increasing share holder value.

You've been conned.


There is a lot of truth in this, but what impresses me most about Google is the way they have aligned their business model with their users interests and how that has enabled them to sacrifice short-term gains for long-term profits... it's a very Buffett-esque strategy that is difficult to pull-off.


True, but maybe they think the best way to achieve profit in the long term is by building cool things and not being evil.


Profit is a large motivation, for sure. There are some folks at Google (I'm guessing particularly on the business side), who probably have that as their primary motivation.

I think the core of Google is Larry, Sergey, Urs, Craig, and the other dozens of engineers I've read about (never met), and from their actions and words over a course of a decade, I think they've proved that a huge motivator for them all is to simple make the world better.

They've all got lots of money. I think the long term evidence shows that they care about doing good. I think their motivation for earning money is to expand their own ability to do good.

If someone disagrees, instead of responding with more argument I'd ask you to make a table and list everything Google done has done in one column and whether or not it seems "good" or "evil" in another. Then we could debate further.


Haha, if you want to disagree with my rose-colored review of why Google are so benevolent then please do a bunch of work so I can just sit here nitpick with nearly no effort on my part.


Google has a dual-class stock structure which gives class B holders (Schmidt, Page, Brin) 10 votes per share v.s. 1 vote per share for the rest.

This is relevant to your statement, because while it's pretty much a requirement for a publicly held company to pursue profit at any cost, it's not necessarily the case for a company run by the people that have a disproportionately large number of votes on major issues.

I'm pretty sure they still have over 50% of the votes, so together they can decide how Google will handle tough moral issues without any support from other shareholders.

I would argue that it's entirely plausible that a couple altruistic billionaires will sacrifice a few dollars in pursuit of non-evil (their opinion of non-evil mind you).


I saw a documentary about advertising agencies. They interviewed someone working at the marketing division of nike. She said her job was to get people to play sports. That of course is not true. Her job is to get people to buy shoes. I think your comment is misguided as well. Google really just wants people to click on ads.


Yes, Google wants to make more money. No question about it. But why are you so eager to reject any other possible motivation just because profit-making is involved? There is satisfaction in making the world a better place; why wouldn't Sergey & Larry want to get that satisfaction?


Exactly! I can't agree more on that. I can get a job which will give me trise as much as I make now with my startup+freelance jobs. But that wouldnt give me satisfaction. I suppose even seeing how people react on what you're up to on scale that Google operates has to be cool.


I was responding to this:

"I strongly disagree. Google wants us to use its services because at its core is a bunch of engineers that simply want to make the world better."

I don't doubt that the people working at google want to make the world better and work on cool software. I don't think that is the primary motivation of google as a company.


I can't tell if this is sarcastic or not.


Wow, wtff? I don't understand how people can get so up in arms about Apple fanboys so long as google has fanboys like this.

Are you serious or trolling? I would expect if someone had such an ignorant/naive opinion they would at least be smart enough to not let other people know.

Here's what I see from google:

Search - a product that helps them sell ads

Gmail - a product that helps them sell ads

Google App engine - A platform where they used the hype of MapReduce et al to get people to join and then ramped up pricing drastically after a lot of people had been on the service (a service for which switching away almost certainly means a big rewrite) for years

Android - phone OS to help them sell ads.

I'm not seeing a lot of "make the world better" in there. Unless you mean "for Google executives".




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