I may, or may not, agree with the opinions of Steve Yegge
Being an employee of a large company is interesting. If you work for companies like Apple, Microsoft, Yahoo!, and many others, you will have some of the same experiences. You represent the company. You hang out at a wedding and someone finds out “oh, you work for Google.” You wonder what is coming next. Should I have remembered me t-shirt that says “Just because I work for Google doesn’t mean I will fix your computer”? Will you get the “can you fix this one issue with my Gmail” thought? Or, the “man your search ruuuuules”, or the “Are you big brother?”
I have learned not to be at all defensive if I get asked questions about privacy and data. In fact, just last week, one of the nice chaps who created Masterplan The Movie showed up to an event in Munich. He kindly said hello and we started to talk about some of the issues. I think that he may have expected me to get defensive.
The problem is that I can’t “prove” that Google believes in its “Don’t be evil” mantra. I personally believe in it, and have seen it in action on a daily basis, but you may not have. How could you just take my word? What I can do is ask you to look at our actions, both in the past, and in the future. Google’s entire business model requires trust. You could switch from google.com to another search engine very easily indeed. There is no lockin there. So, we need to provide you the best search results available, and we need you to trust us that this is the case.
Again, rather than arguing “hey we are good guys”, it was easier to talk about reasons why that may not make sense.
For example, a lot of sites use Google Analytics, and embed urchin.js in their pages. A lot of sites. We could do anything we want there too, but why would we. If we got caught out can you imagine the blogosphere. Arrington would be shouting bloody murder about Google. We would lose trust, and that would hurt.
Some may grow frustrated with the skeptics, but I applaud it. There are a lot of people from within that are pushing boundaries. Internal Googlers are not shy about calling fowl if they see it happen. With people watching every move of Google, especially with the high bar that we set with the motto, we are more likely to truly do the right thing. If we step over the line, people are there to shout back and us, and that keeps us honest.
So, thanks for the skeptics. I won’t try to persuade you how good we are at Google, just keep on watching.