Is Google getting evil?: CNET Conversations
CNET Conversations: Is Google getting evil?3:32 /
Google CEO Eric Schmidt talks about whether the company ever regrets its "do no evil" policy, and how the definition of "evil" changes as Google grows.
[ Music ] ^M00:00:07 [ Background music ] >> I want to talk a little bit about evil. I often see you get asked about this notion that you can make money as a business without doing evil and it seems possible that once you get to a certain size you may always be evil to someone or you may have set up what is an impossible standard and I guess I was just wondering if you ever wish you hadn't put that in there? >> No actually we're very happy about the evil or the lack of evil comment. My own view on Google and where we are now is that we are facing the kind of criticisms that you're referencing because we are a company that is a disruptor and we're also a company of significant scale and I think we all agree to that and we're in the information business and people care a lot about information for many legitimate reasons and by the way the rules differ from country to country so we have to deal with different standards, different social standards, different cultural standards to what people want so from our perspective the principle of do no evil was not a rule in the sense that there was a defining line and you may do this and you may not do that but it was more a practice that if something appears evil it's ok in our culture for an employee of any kind to say anywhere to say I think that's evil and it forces the conversation so it's way of our culture if you will correcting around maybe we're making a mistake, or maybe we're too aggressive here, or we're too greedy here or what have you and as long as we're focused on end user benefit we should be just fine. >> And it's so interesting cause it feels like always been your position and yet you make people kind of nervous. What do you think it is about Google at this point that makes people feel generally uneasy? We had a lot of user questions saying I'm scared, you have all of my stuff you know or you sky net what do you think is it size is it information? >> I think it's a combination of size and scale and we work hard to communicate our values as a company. We also make it easy for people who are dissatisfied with Google to leave Google. We have the strangely named data liberation front group whose job is to get information out of Google and into your our competitors systems so we think that consumers not only can trust us because of our public statements plus if we violated them we would be sort of destroyed in the media and in our brand but also we wouldn't' do it for other reasons, good moral reasons and finally we want to keep them as a customer we make it easy for them to switch. >> I wanted to just go back to the evil notion for a second and just ask real quick has your cultural definition of evil changed as you've grown from a smaller company focused almost exclusively on search to a company that is doing so many different things right now? >> The significant change I think has been the globalization of the company cause there are things which are not evil in America which are evil in other cultures >> and vice versa >> And vice versa and so there have been a number of cases which I'd rather not go into where we've been we've had robust conversations if you will where an employee or a group says look this is just wrong but it's ok with American sensibilities and vice versa and we've taken the position that we are a global company not just an American company we have to represent and respect that. Certainly the China decision which is very controversial at the time but I think ultimately the right one for us is another example of a tortured internal discussion which ultimately came to [inaudible] the right outcome.