Google has removed “Don’t Be Evil” from the start of its code of conduct. But contrary to some reports, those exact words still feature – they’re just now at the very end of the document.
Since 2000, the phrase has been not just an unofficial slogan, but also among the very first words to appear in the company’s public “code of conduct” document. While there are certainly plenty of people who’d take issue with the company’s adherence to that motto, it’s at least out there as a stick to beat Google with.
In fact at times the phrase appeared three times in the first couple of paragraphs, including a fundamental explanation that “The Google Code of Conduct is one of the ways we put “Don’t be evil” into practice.” In the latest version of the code – now strictly speaking that of parent company Alphabet – that’s been replaced with “The Google Code of Conduct is one of the ways we put Google’s values into practice.”
However, the phrase hasn’t been removed completely: the very end of the document continues to read “And remember… don’t be evil, and if you see something that you think isn’t right — speak up.”
Another change, spotted by Search Engine Journal, includes a reference to “trust and mutual respect” as the foundation of the company’s success being replaced with “Respect for our users, for the opportunity, and for each other.” However, trust is still explicitly addressed in the code, including a note that:
Our reputation as a company that our users can trust is our most valuable asset, and it is up to all of us to make sure that we continually earn that trust. All of our communications and other interactions with our users should increase their trust in us.
While there’s plenty of opportunity to over-analyze the precise tweaks in the document’s wording, it remains fundamentally the same message. And what should really be considered the most controversial paragraph remains untouched:
Google’s affection for our canine friends is an integral facet of our corporate culture. We like cats, but we’re a dog company, so as a general rule we feel cats visiting our offices would be fairly stressed out .