Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
×
Google Businesses Technology

Google Removes 'Don't Be Evil' Clause From Its Code of Conduct (gizmodo.com) 163

Kate Conger, reporting for Gizmodo: Google's unofficial motto has long been the simple phrase "don't be evil." But that's over, according to the code of conduct that Google distributes to its employees. The phrase was removed sometime in late April or early May, archives hosted by the Wayback Machine show.

"Don't be evil" has been part of the company's corporate code of conduct since 2000. When Google was reorganized under a new parent company, Alphabet, in 2015, Alphabet assumed a slightly adjusted version of the motto, "do the right thing." However, Google retained its original "don't be evil" language until the past several weeks. The phrase has been deeply incorporated into Google's company culture -- so much so that a version of the phrase has served as the wifi password on the shuttles that Google uses to ferry its employees to its Mountain View headquarters, sources told Gizmodo.

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Google Removes 'Don't Be Evil' Clause From Its Code of Conduct

Comments Filter:
  • by gdonald ( 5224335 ) on Saturday May 19, 2018 @12:20AM (#56637270)
    Finally, now I can get a job there! w0oh0o!
    • by MrKaos ( 858439 )

      Finally, now I can get a job there! MU-HAHAHA!

      FTFY!

    • by antdude ( 79039 )

      Dr. Evil, is that you?

  • by JoeyRox ( 2711699 ) on Saturday May 19, 2018 @12:20AM (#56637272)
    Pretty much describes the life cycle of every country and corporation, from its idealized conception to its fall into the corrupt and greedy abyss.
    • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Saturday May 19, 2018 @01:41AM (#56637510)

      Pretty much describes the life cycle of every country and corporation, from its idealized conception to its fall into the corrupt and greedy abyss.

      This is not true. Plenty of corporations start in the corrupt and greedy abyss right from the beginning. For instance, Microsoft never went through an "idealistic" phase. Oracle is another example of primordial slime.

      • by thomst ( 1640045 ) on Saturday May 19, 2018 @04:05AM (#56637768) Homepage

        ShanghaiBill observed:

        Plenty of corporations start in the corrupt and greedy abyss right from the beginning. For instance, Microsoft never went through an "idealistic" phase. Oracle is another example of primordial slime.

        I've never worked for Microsoft. It's certainly true, though, that Gates stole CPM from Gary Kildall [wikipedia.org], and (after modifying it to run on a then-incompatible filesystem) sold it to IBM, as PC-DOS, for mucho dinero. In spring of 1992, he screwed IBM, too, by buying up every floppy disk he could find, to delay OS/2 2.0's rollout, while Microsoft vacuumed up all the PR oxygen with Windows 3.1's much-ballyhooed release. On floppies. (Yes, OS/2 2.0 was released on 17 3/5" floppies - and you could get it in 5.25", as well. Eventually. But, from February 1992 through mid-July, you couldn't buy a box of floppies for love, money, or marbles, because Microsoft had purchased every manufacturer's entire output. And it was rare, in those days, for PC's to have CD drives, believe it or not.)

        And it was interesting - in the ghoulish way passing a really bad accident on the freeway is interesing - to watch the collapse of IBM's otherwise-carefully-planned rollout of their vastly-superior OS. The panic in the IBM guys who came by our lab space at Wells steadily mounted, as the weeks since the official release date ticked by, and the continuing floppy shortage kept anyone but major potential customers (like Wells Fargo, where I was a senior technology analyst) from being able to get their hands on the darned thing anywhere but at IBM authorized dealers. And then only to kick the demo version around on the store's computers, not to buy a copy themselves. (In late March, our sales rep gave us an advance copy to evaluate, with the exhortation, "Take care of that. You probably won't see another one for quite a while." When I asked him if we could make a backup copy, he said, "Officially speaking, I should say 'No.' Unofficially, though, it's probably a good idea.")

        Once upon a time, however, I did work for Orace. (As a contractor, rather than as a FTE.)

        I had recently left Wells (this was at the end of 1992, before the swine who ran NationsBank ate them, jettisoned all the top execs I'd known, and assumed the Wells identity, even though it was a considerably smaller entity, because their own brand was absolute poison), and I naively believed that place had been a shark tank. I swiftly found out that Wells was full of mere guppies, instead. Oracle, by comparison, was a freakin' piranha swarm.

        As just one example of the work environment at Oracle: I had set up a shared, $10,000 Tektronix Phaserjet, wax-transfer color printer for an Oracle sales department. (Cost of consumables? About two bucks a page, depending. Even the special, clay-surface paper was expensive. And the four, separate, rolls of wax-surface, color printing medium? Yikes!) One day they called me to say that it had stopped working, and one of their employees needed to be on a flight to Europe pronto, with color printouts of his Powerpoint deck in hand an absolute priority.

        So I drove to Redwood Shores (which took nearly an hour), and, after visually inspecting the printer, determined that its power cable was missing. I substituted one from a nearby workstation (whose user was on a marketing trip to Asia, which meant he had no immediate need for it), and the marketing guy easily made his flight, 4-color printout in hand. Then I went looking for the missing power cable from the printer (which, with the Tektronix logo stamped on it, was pretty distinctive). I found it, too.

        Some guy from another department (in a different silo on that same floor) had filched it to supply power to his personal laser printer - and then walked away, without replacing it, leaving an entire department that depended on the Phaserjet with no way to print its slides.

        I confiscated the cable, of course, and took it ba

        • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 19, 2018 @06:37AM (#56637960)

          It's certainly true, though, that Gates stole CPM from Gary Kildall [wikipedia.org], and (after modifying it to run on a then-incompatible filesystem) sold it to IBM, as PC-DOS

          No, neither Bill Gates nor Microsoft did steal anything from DRI, including CP/M. If CP/M was ever stolen, it was by Tim Paterson, who had nothing to do with MS back then. And BTW, Paterson didn't steal CP/M; he merely created a CP/M work-alike OS, that ran on Intel 8086, and its APIs were designed to be backward-compatible with these of CP/M, which, together with the 8080-to-8086 source code compatibility, made porting software to the new OS almost trivial. Later, Paterson won a lawsuit for defamation against some DRI fanbois, who, just like you, accused him of theft, so, if you want to donate some money to Mr. Paterson, you may continue with your accusations.

          • by Bing Tsher E ( 943915 ) on Saturday May 19, 2018 @08:07AM (#56638140) Journal

            People like GP commenter cop an attitude like they were even around during the introduction of the PC. At the time, you could buy both PC-DOS and CP/M-86 from IBM to run on their PC. CP/M was about twice as expensive, and wouldn't really run the old programs from 8-bit CP/M anyway.

            There was some synergy in buying PC-DOS for the OS. Microsoft produced the built-in BASIC interpreter that booted up from the ROMs in the IBM-PC if you bought one without floppy drives or disk controller (a 180k SSDD floppy drive was north of $500) and ran your PC with cassette BASIC. (the cassette interface cable was standard equipment until the introduction of the PC/XT.) PC-DOS came with the extended Disk BASIC at no cost versus CP/M-86 which was twice the price and didn't have BASIC included. Microsoft BASIC was an additional package you has to purchase for CP/M.

            BASIC was important in that era, and Microsoft was mostly a 'language' company in that era, producing thd BASIC interpreter for most computer brands.. A lot of early PC users wrote their own software in BASIC or typed it in from listings in magazines targeted to all the different personal computers like the Atari, Commodore and Apples, etc.

            The above details are just some of the wrinkles in the history that are often overlooked. It's far more complex than 'Microsoft stole CP/M' and the history is even interesting (if you're a nerd and not some IT dude reading a 'tech' site who took CS in college to 'make money.')

        • by squiggleslash ( 241428 ) on Saturday May 19, 2018 @09:11AM (#56638264) Homepage Journal

          It's certainly true, though, that Gates stole CPM from Gary Kildall, and (after modifying it to run on a then-incompatible filesystem) sold it to IBM, as PC-DOS, for mucho dinero.

          It certainly isn't true, not even remotely.

          Microsoft bought MS DOS from Seattle Associates, a seller of 8086 cards for S-100 systems, which had called the OS QDOS. QDOS itself had little to do with CP/M, it had an entirely different filesystem (Microsoft's FAT file system, which was written for early standalone Microsoft BASIC implementations intended to run without needing a seperate operating system), had a different toolset, different CLI, and was only similar to CP/M in one respect: it exported a similar, but not identical, API for applications to use. The latter was to make it easier to port CP/M applications to QDOS.

          That part, like the rest of the operating system, was written from scratch, but if it hadn't been, the amount of code Seattle Associates would have "stolen" would have amounted to a tiny percentage of CP/M, literally a few hundred bytes of code, because all the complexity was in the file system and command line tools. I mention this not to suggest that if they did it it wouldn't have been a problem, I mention this to give you some idea of how ludicrous the allegation is: "Let's write a whole new operating system, but for no reason let's illegally copy a few hundred bytes from CP/M when it would be easier for us to write the same code afresh." That's how stupid the allegation is.

          Microsoft's first product was BASIC. They bought MSDOS. MSDOS was not a copy of CP/M or based upon it. IBM knew what it was getting into when it bought a license. Compaq, not Microsoft, started the clones movement (Microsoft sold MS DOS to companies like ACT/Apricot before that, who were producing machines completely incompatible with IBM's.)

          Microsoft was fairly neutral as a technology company until the Windows vs GEM thing started up. That snowballed into DOS/Windows vs DR DOS, Windows vs OS/2, and all the other slimy things they did. But for the first 10-15 years they were relatively normal.

        • As an aside when I first started working back in 2000 I actually had one of those ancient Tektronic Phaserjet wax-transfer printers. It was pretty massive for printers of the day and weighed a metric ton I think. It was pretty cool however, I used it pretty exclusively for everything. The little wax blocks were surprisingly convenient way to supply colour, and the waste bucket I recall with all the leftover wax. It printed great colour in comparison to other technologies even at that time. One of the things

          • by thomst ( 1640045 )

            DarthVain confided:

            I believe it used a parallel port (or it may have been SCSI).

            Definitely a parallel port.

            And you're right - it produced excellent color printouts ...

      • by shanen ( 462549 ) on Saturday May 19, 2018 @06:41AM (#56637968) Homepage Journal

        Good comment and deserves the insightful mod, even though you didn't address the underlying religious issue:

        "There is no gawd but Profit, and the google wants to be Profit's #1 prophet."

        Right now Apple holds the title (according to Fortune), but they are evil and cancerous in different ways. The noncancerous corporations have mostly been crushed out of the market or bought out and merged.

        It amuses me to imagine there could be solution approaches. My current favorite would be a progressive tax on corporate profits, where the rate increases with market share. NOT a penalty to success, but rather an incentive to reproduce by fission, providing more competition, more choices, and more freedom for the human beings. The REAL human beings, not the legal fictions like corporate persons.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          The solution would be easy but far-reaching. Get rid of most of the stock market. Enterprises become evil once they go on the stock market. It's also not very surprising, they get tons of money to strategically buy competitors, destroy previously healthy markets, and in return need to do everything they can to increase stock value or maximize profits. The product line doesn't even really count any more, companies like Google or Apple could just as well make their money with crude oil,trading producing soap,

          • I am so happy that your influence on society is limited to Slashdot. Only the fucking clueless would want to wipe out an institution like the stock market, which has operated for centuries, and is a means to provide transparency to the general public, and allow people that aren't part of the 0.01% to possess wealth that isn't real estate.

            The only thing wrong with patents (a means that allows people capable of solving intractable problems to be rewarded for their efforts) has occurred in the past 30 years;

      • Monsanto, too.

    • Pretty much describes the life cycle of every large country and corporation, from its idealized conception to its fall into the corrupt and greedy abyss.

      FTFY. And it's an important distinction because there are a lot of small countries and corporations that are neither corrupt nor greedy. Norway, Finland, Denmark New Zealand etc all do well in the quality of life/low corruption indexes and they each only have population around 5 million. Maybe the solution is a physical hard limit to the amount of people any one organisation/country can grow to?

      Someone smarter than me describes the problem here: http://www.cracked.com/article... [cracked.com]

  • by 0xdeaddead ( 797696 ) on Saturday May 19, 2018 @12:21AM (#56637274) Homepage Journal

    as part of fucking over their employees out of stock, as they became the 'alphabet company' aka the play on 'alphabet agency'.

    Google is VERY VERY Evil.

    • That is only half the story. Google was planning an expansion so huge, employees had nothing to do with it. Therefore those doing the expansion (the guys at the top) needed a way to trim all the fat of giving employees something they didn't earn/deserve.
  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Saturday May 19, 2018 @12:26AM (#56637292)

    Someone at Google read through all of the things Google has been in the news for in recent years, and it hit them: Hey, we're the baddies [youtube.com]

  • Warrant Canary (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 19, 2018 @12:31AM (#56637314)

    You all may joke, but I'd wager something really nefarious happened at Google and this is the warrant canary.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Get ready to see what evil Google can do with all the data they collected from everyone over the past 20 years or so.

      This will be perfect demonstration of why we need laws to prohibit companies from using your data for other purpose without your explicit agreement.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Pretty unlikely, because we know from the Snowden revelations that Google had a direct line to the NSA. They claimed they didn't know about the 'wiretap', but that seems fairly implausible. You don't let NSA technicians lay fiber optics connections to your data streams without knowing anything about it. So in a nutshell, for all we know from public information, Google used to be evil in the past, too. (If you want to look at it that way, obviously it's a matter of perspective.)

  • In most companies, the code of conduct is a reflection of existing culture. It is rarely a template for conduct. When's the last time an employee thought, "I was going to act in a certain way, but since that action is contrary to our code of conduct, I decided on a different course of action."

    One reason the code of conduct is rarely useful for directing conduct is that the language is so abstract. Often the entire verbiage could be replaced with "Let's be good!" Due to this abstractness, code of conduct

    • I thought the "code of conduct" was usually something managers thought sounded good, and which had as much use as vision statements and lists of core values.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by h33t l4x0r ( 4107715 )
        Yes but, importantly, it means that Google can no longer fire employees for being evil. This is a big civil rights win for Satan-worshipping coders.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        I thought the "code of conduct" was usually something managers thought sounded good, and which had as much use as vision statements and lists of core values.

        Just occasionally you get something that you know you should do. That you want to do but might be against immediate profit. Something that you know someone else doesn't want you to do. Let's say, letting Hansel and Gretel* out of their cage. And then along comes the Witch (e.g. project manager) and says in the meeting "why did you do that". And you say 'because our values say "nobody should be kept in a cage"' and so I just wanted to make sure we followed them. And the thing is, the project manager kn

    • Re:Does this matter? (Score:4, Informative)

      by serviscope_minor ( 664417 ) on Saturday May 19, 2018 @04:39AM (#56637828) Journal

      Don't be evil. Do the right thing. Everyone agrees with those words

      clearly you've never done business with Oracle.

  • by mentil ( 1748130 ) on Saturday May 19, 2018 @12:58AM (#56637402)

    Whenever I want to know about the ethics of a megacorporation's activities, I pore over a document on their website. It's all right there in the manual, people! If they pinkie-swear that they'll be the mostest ethicalest conglomerate ever, then goddammit, I believe them!

    Obviously, removing a vow to not be evil means they've accepted an ethical continuum where any action taken in a situation containing an ethical problem necessarily involves a certain amount of evil; vowing to do NO evil would necessarily mean taking no action, which is itself an evil action, thereby they are avoiding a double bind.

  • They didn't actually remove don't be evil.... Only part of the motto was removed, you see: the only part they actually removed was the word Don't; leaving most of the policy intact.

    • They didn't actually remove don't be evil.... Only part of the motto was removed, you see: the only part they actually removed was the word Don't; leaving most of the policy intact.

      It was even more minor than that - they only removed the “n”, the apostrophe, and the “t”. That’s less than a 25% change!

  • by RyanFenton ( 230700 ) on Saturday May 19, 2018 @01:06AM (#56637422)

    I've found that the best definition of evil that applies across all culture and times is the following:

    Intentionally harming others to benefit yourself.

    Whether that benefit is emotional, resources, or a political cause, it's all in the direction of what most cultures would consider more and more evil.

    Without harm, it's generally more mischief or taboo, and without any form of benefit from that harm, it's generally considered more madness/confusion or misunderstanding. Without intention, it's considered an accident, though blatant enough recklessness its own intention in many cases.

    Discarding the intention to avoid evil, because it might make you more money is definitely going in the evil direction in my book at least.

    Ryan Fenton

    • Oh man, it's so easy!

      >Intentionally harming others to benefit yourself.

      I guess Poker and Fight Club are out.

  • So now they won't do the right thing, correct?
  • Android smartphone. Never worn.
    • So you never logged onto it with a Google Account? (actually a practical approach. You can run Android and even add apps without ever 'logging onto Google'.)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 19, 2018 @03:13AM (#56637710)

    "And remember don’t be evil, and if you see something that you think isn’t right – speak up!"

    https://abc.xyz/investor/other/google-code-of-conduct.html

    Literally, literally fake news.

  • Now that Google doesn't have it in their code of conduct how will we raise this as hyperbole at every opportunity?

    Google ate a baby. Evil!
    Google gave info to the NSA. Evil!
    Google stopped releasing updates to a 6 year old phone. Evil!
    Google tracks my location. Evil!
    Google street view took a photo of my house. Evil!
    Google changed the colour scheme in gmail. Evil!
    Google didn't donate 100% of its profit to charity. Evil!

    Jokes aside, the phrase has been utterly meaningless for many years, not because of the comp

  • Exciting news coming from the new Evil Google. Their chains have been broken and they are free to do their darkest desires!
  • Do know evil.

  • Person who posted this is a true Goo-fan Google has been evil under the covers since Day One. Very opinionated software. Just better than what the others have to offer. If they develop an in-house OS it should be called Doors.
  • It's kinda hard to make an evil AI to take over the world with a clause like that.
  • Steve Jobs famously called bullshit on this slogan. Of course that was the pot calling the kettle black.
  • I have an essay about one problem: http://yuhongbao.blogspot.ca/2... [blogspot.ca]

  • Google changed their motto from "Don't Be Evil" to "Don't Be Evil*". They're considering changing it to "Don't Be 'Evil'".

  • As of 4/30/2018 Google has not removed "Don't be Evil" from their CoC. I know cause that's when I saw it right there as the first three words of the CoC. I just started at Google.

Ya'll hear about the geometer who went to the beach to catch some rays and became a tangent ?

Working...