About 10 years ago, Tim Wu, the Columbia Law professor who coined the term network neutrality, made this prescient comment: “To love Google, you have to be a little bit of a monarchist, you have to have faith in the way people traditionally felt about the king.”
Wu was right. And now, Google has established a pattern of lobbying and threatening to acquire power. It has reached a dangerous point common to many monarchs: The moment where it no longer wants to allow dissent.
When Google was founded in 1998, it famously committed itself to the motto: “Don’t be evil.” It appears that Google may have lost sight of what being evil means, in the way that most monarchs do: Once you reach a pinnacle of power, you start to believe that any threats to your authority are themselves villainous and that you are entitled to shut down dissent. As Lord Acton famously said, “Despotic power is always accompanied by corruption of morality.” Those with too much power cannot help but be evil. Google, the company dedicated to free expression, has chosen to silence opposition, apparently without any sense of irony.
In recent years, Google has become greedy about owning not just search capacities, video and maps, but also the shape of public discourse. As the Wall Street Journal recently reported, Google has recruited and cultivated law professors who support its views. And as the New York Times recently reported, it has become invested in building curriculum for our public schools, and has created political strategy to get schools to adopt its products.
It is time to call out Google for what it is: a monopolist in search, video, maps and browser, and a thin-skinned tyrant when it comes to ideas.
Google is forming into a government of itself, and it seems incapable of even seeing its own overreach. We, as citizens, must respond in two ways. First, support the brave researchers and journalists who stand up to overreaching power; and second, support traditional antimonopoly laws that will allow us to have great, innovative companies — but not allow them to govern us.
– From Zephyr Teachout’s powerful arcticle: Google Is Coming After Critics in Academia and Journalism. It’s Time to Stop Them.
The mask has finally come off Google’s face, and what lurks underneath looks pretty evil.
2017 has represented a coming out party of sorts for Google and the control-freaks who run it. The company’s response to the James Damore controversy made it crystal clear that executives at Google are far more interested in shoving their particular worldview down the throats of the public, versus encouraging vibrant and lively debate. This is not a good look for the dominant search engine.
The creeping evilness of Google has been obvious for quite some time, but this troubling reality has only recently started getting the attention it deserves. The worst authoritarian impulses exhibited at the company appear to emanate from Alphabet Chairman Eric Schmidt, whose actions consistently seem to come from a very dark and unconscious place.