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The Rise of Googleism: "What's yours is ours" in Googleopia!

A must read for anyone following net neutrality or Google closely is the excellent NYT's article "We're Google. So Sue Us." by Katie HafnerIt helps lay bare the moral relativism in Google's business ethics -- where there is nothing wrong with selling other's property without their permission.

As "arguably the most powerful Internet company" and the corporate ringleader for net neutrality regulation of all things broadband, it is instructive to delve into what kind of leader the net neutrality movement has hitched its wagon to.

As a long time professional observer of the sector, technology, trends and companies, I'll tell you, Google is the single most undisciplined company I have ever studied. They are literally an exploding company, in growth, influence, arrogance and rapacious competitive ambition -- launching a shock wave of new products and innovations in virtually everyone's direction. It's akin to watching a fireworks company where they let kids play with matches.

I've been trying to sort through this exploding debris to figure out the source of Google's extraordinary combustion. A start of the answer is their corporate motto "don't be evil." Isn't it curious that they used a form of double negative for something so important? Why not just say "Do good"? Ah, but that would be too limiting. It seems Google has conveniently self-defined "evil" as a very narrow word reserved for the likes of "the axis of evil" and the devil himself.

So what does "do no evil" mean to Google in practice? Well, as Oxford Professor Jonathan Zittrain insightfully said in the NYT article: Google "is really trying to preserve a culture that says, 'Just do it, and consult with the lawyers as you go so you don't do anything flagrantly ill-advised." Sounds a little like a culture that preaches rules and laws are for others -- not juggernaut darlings just trying to "innovate" for the good of mankind. 

Let's look further for clues in their corporate mantra: "to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible." Now who outside of Google authorized this systematic pillaging of all intellectual property rights when I wasn't looking? The UN? A new secret Googleopian society for liberating all information from its "evil" coporate bondage of copyright, trademarks, and property ownership? It sounds a lot like a vast conspiracy to commoditize all knowledge by liberating all content from...the evils of business models!

Reading the NYT article reminded me of the hubris in Google's rapacious ambition. Lets review who is suing Google. First, Google is being sued by authors and publishers who don't want Google to copy all their copyrighted books to allow searching of them because that is why people buy books -- to search them and learn from them. Second, Google is being sued by newspapers for using copyrighted headlines and photos because it undermines newspaper customers' need to buy their newspaper in order to scan the day's news and see the best photos of the day. Third, trademark owners also are suing Google for basically selling their trademarks as advertising "keywords" because it undermines these property owners' ability to gain the commercial benefit from their intellectual property. 

If it wasn't cloaked behind the mystery and magic of "the Internet" would we think analagous behavior in the real world was a problem? Should strangers or even the government be allowed to search any part of your house at anytime without permission from anyone but Google? Should strangers be able to make copies and sell your best family photos to others without anyone's permission or any payment? Should strangers be able to have a garage sale to rent your personal property to others without any permission from anyone or any payment? See what I mean about Google's motto"don't be evil"? What does it really mean? Does Google consider skimming wrong?Trespassing wrong? Stealing wrong?

The more you learn about Google the more you understand the depth of their moral relativism. Good and evil are defined by Google alone. I call this new peculiar philosophical system "Googleism." Googleism is "what's yours is ours." It's a self-serving double standard which views other people's property as everyone's property because that would allow Google to gain a commission on selling most all of the world's intellectual property to everyone. Is this a great country or what? 

It's this same anti-property rights ethos that the Googleopians have infused into the net neutrality debate -- that broadband network owners should not charge for investing to improve Internet performance. Google shouldn't have to pay for things!

In Googleopia, apparently all information will be freed from the bondage of property ownership and only Google will remain positioned to profit.