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Irresponsibility is How Google Works - No Curation of Google Maps or Google

The latest example of Google’s well-established pattern of callous corporate irresponsibility and willful blindness is reporting by the Washington Post that: “If you search Google Maps for the N-word, it gives you the White House.

Tellingly, Google’s corporate policy of crowd-sourcing without curation/corporate supervision of Google Maps systemically yields racist labels for innumerable places per Danny Sullivan’s analysis of the pervasive problem at MarketingLand.  

Sadly, this latest callous corporate irresponsibility is not the exception, but the rule with Google, not only on Google Maps, but with  YouTube Kids App, Google’s overall security and product safety policy, Google Search, Google-YouTube, AdWords, Google+, Google Play, Google Books, Android, Google Apps, etc.  

Why is callous corporate irresponsibility “How Google Works?”

Importantly, Google’s corporate values are the personal values of Google co-founder and CEO Larry Page. It is a large reason why Mr. Page personally reviews and approves every single Google hire according to Google’s HR boss 

A core  pillar of Google CEO Larry Page’s consistent policy and value system in running Google’s businesses has been to not curate or edit out hateful, dangerous or illegal content hosted on its Google-branded platforms to prevent harm to others unless Google is compelled to do so, and then Google does it begrudgingly and halfheartedly.

There are strong philosophical, business and financial reasons for Mr. Page’s cavalier approach to Google’s business and serving Internet users.

Philosophically, Mr. Page has a very different concept and definition of freedom than do responsible corporate leaders and citizens who care about the rights and well being of others and those that they serve.

Mr. Page largely subscribes to what philosopher Isaiah Berlin describes in his essay  Two concepts of Liberty” as “Positive Liberty,” the autocratic freedom to do what one wants; and the freedom to coerce others to take what they have from them (This is the source of Google’s well known privacy and  piracy problems.)

Google’s open commons values assume a self-centered orientation that freedom does not necessarily come with any responsibilities to others to be civil, safe or legal. Thus Google has a business philosophy of asking for forgiveness not permission, and hence rejects responsibility to proactively help safeguard others, as a limitation on Google’s and other people’s freedom to do and say whatever they want.

Thus Google-encouraged crowd-sourcing protects the crowd/mob’s freedom to do whatever it wants to others by cloaking all such behavior as “freedom of speech,” and any limitation of Google’s and others’ “positive liberty” as “censorship.”    

In stark contrast, responsible corporations and citizens of constitutionally-limited, non-autocratic governments believe in “Negative Liberty,” i.e. the freedom from interference from government or others and the freedom from coercion to be able to keep what one has. This Judeo-Christian and Locke-ian concept of freedom has an others orientation and a belief that with freedom comes responsibility to others.

Those who believe in negative freedom protect freedom of speech up to the point it does not harm others, i.e. people have no reasonable freedom of speech right to commit perjury, libel, slander, misrepresentation, lying under oath, fraud, inciting a riot, etc.

Simply, responsible corporations proactively protect people from reasonably foreseeable harms, and take proactive responsibility to ensure their business obeys the law and does not engage in willful blindness to well-known dangerous or illegal activities by their corporation or people who use their products and services.  

Non-autocratic, rule of law nations and responsible corporations which cherish and value the rights and well being of others, believe they have a responsibility and obligation to reasonably protect the safety and well being of others that they oversee and serve.  

Business-wise, Mr. Page has understood better than possibly anyone else in history that “information is power.” The evidence of all the information that his Google has collected (here and here) is truly staggering and mind-boggling. Mr. Page was the first person in history to discover, prove and achieve the notion that all of the world’s information can be collected and analyzed in one place; hence “Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”  

More than anyone else ever, Mr. Page grasped and acted upon the notion that speed and scale would be essential and necessary in order to achieve his megalomaniacal information vision.  

Organizing the Internet “crowd” without restriction and for no cost, is a huge “force multiplier,” accelerant, and augmentation of Mr. Page’s vision for Google’s omnipresence and omniscience online and offline.

Simply, being willing to do what your competitors ethically won’t do -- i.e. no curation or corporate responsibility for the rights and well being of others -- is an enormous anti-competitive advantage and path to very rapidly acquire and proliferate immense market power in many facets of the Internet economy.

Another critical component of understanding why Google is willing to not curate content on its platforms to protect the safety and well being of its users, is the important reality that users are not Google’s customers to be taken good care of: users, and their private data, are the product that Google sells to advertisers, publishers and developers. Thus Google’s philosophy allows Google the self-serving “positive” freedom to do what it wants to their users without their knowledge or permission. Apparently, users’ only protection is Google’s “Don’t be evil” motto.  

Financially, Google’s no curation policy saves Google a ton of money and is exceptionally profit enhancing. Curation of the world’s largest marketplace of information, products and services in the world would be very expensive.

A key part of Google’s financial business model is automation via algorithm because that scales fast and keeps up with Moore’s Law. People don’t scale. They certainly don’t scale exponentially.    

In sum, what the Google Maps irresponsible policy of enabling systemic racist labels for its maps of the world used by over a billion people worldwide is a telling and important reminder of “How Google Works and who Google really is because this Google Maps no curation problem is not the exception at Google, but the rule in how Google regularly operates around the world.

Forewarned is forearmed.





“How Google Works” series (A public service fact-check of Google’s bestseller: “How Google Works.”)


Part 1: Google Profiting from Hacked Celebrity Women Photos is “How Google Works” [10-6-14]


Part 2: Stealing from Competitors is “How Google Works” [10-20-14]


Part 3: Evading Sovereign Accountability is “How Google Works” [12-10-14]


Part 4: Bullying is “How Google Works” – Ask Law Enforcement [12-21-14]


Part 5: Deceptive Branding is “How Google Works” – Ask EC Law Enforcement [1-7-15]