Investor money vs. public interest: did Google fail to build a non-evil platform?

Dmytro Gerasymenko
The Startup
Published in
9 min readSep 30, 2019


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Don’t be evil.

That was Google’s official motto, until recently.

Google engineers Paul Buchheit and Amit Patel coined the phrase during a 2002 company meeting. Buchheit, who also happens to be the creator of Gmail, describes the brainstorm session to author Jessica Livingston in her book Founders at Work:

“It just, sort of, occurred to me that ‘don’t be evil’ is kind of funny,” he says. “It’s also a bit of a jab at a lot of the other companies, especially our competitors, who at the time, in our opinion, were kind of exploiting the users to some extent.”

Ironically, that is exactly what many individuals are now accusing the tech giant of doing. Which begs the question:

Has Google morphed into the very thing it vowed never to become?

Google’s corporate mission is to: “Organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

What was originally a humble search engine is now also a business SaaS provider, a maps…