Which begs the question: What else has Google lied about? Edelman suggests that Google's inability to filter copyrighted materials from YouTube, its profiting from unlawful typosquatting, the "glitch" in its search toolbar that continued to track users across the Web after they thought they had disabled it, and the Wi-Fi spying debacle all might fall under the category of "We knew it was wrong but we did it anyway."
Remember, Google is not a monolith. And though it is engineering-driven, it's also money-driven. I suspect there's a huge gulf between the geeky product-creating side of Google and the moneymaking side, and those high-minded "Don't be evil" ethics don't have enough gas to cross the chasm.
Salespeople are not rewarded for how closely they hue to the rules; they're rewarded for how much money they bring in. Ethics? Sure, but only if they don't cut into profits. (See Big Pharma, above.)
Edelman does consult for companies that compete with Google, like Microsoft. And he does seem to have a particular obsession with the Googlers over the past few years, to the exclusion of nearly anything else. But I doubt he'd risk his considerable reputation by doing dirty work for his clients.
My take: I still can't believe Google would have intentionally sucked down data via Wi-Fi spying -– that sounds too paranoid to me, and with very little upside for the company. As for the rest? It all makes sense and -- more important in Mountain View -– a ton of money for Google.
On a scale of 1 to 10, just how evil is Google -– and what makes them so bad? Cast your votes below or email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article, "Just how evil is Google?," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the crazy twists and turns of the tech industry with Robert X. Cringely's Notes from the Field blog, and subscribe to Cringely's Notes from the Underground newsletter.
This story, "Just How Evil is Google?" was originally published by InfoWorld.