Google’s “Don’t Be Evil” Motto Turns Into “Don’t Innovate” Culture

Oren Todoros
By Oren Todoros, Updated on April 01, 2024, 5 min read

Google’s “Don’t be evil” mantra, often mistakenly referred to as “Do no evil,” wasn’t just a catchy slogan but a declaration of how they believed in the early days. Found within the pages of its 2004 IPO prospectus, famously dubbed the “‘Don’t Be Evil’ manifesto,” this statement from Google’s founders made it clear: “Don’t be evil. We believe strongly that in the long term, we will be better served—as shareholders and in all other ways—by a company that does good things for the world even if we forgo some short-term gains.” This wasn’t just about setting themselves apart; it was a commitment to a higher standard, a promise that their corporate philosophy would prioritize global betterment over quick profits.


Google was founded in the late 1990s when consumers were fed up with Microsoft’s dominance. Google was seen as the “rebels” compared to Microsoft’s “evil empire.” Google took the world by storm with Google Search and followed it up a few years later with Gmail. Since then, it’s launched a trio of successes like Android, Google Maps, and the Google Drive ecosystem. Since then, though, the innovation well has dried up. Google’s focus has turned from “Don’t be evil” to “Squeeze every bit of data we can mine out of our customers to serve more ads.”


Mountain View, California, USA - March 28, 2018: Google sign at Google's headquarters in Silicon Valley. Google is an American technology company.


Google Search was revolutionary. Gmail was revolutionary. Google Workspace (originally Google Apps for Your Domain) broke Microsoft’s chokehold on enterprise email. Google Drive was revolutionary. Google Maps was revolutionary. Android was revolutionary. Everything since? Can you name another successful Google product that has taken the world by storm since Android? Google has released dozens of messenger products. Its AI strategy is a mess (a literal mess). From the highest levels, Google is a company in decline.



What made Google great?

Going back to the early days when consumers started using the internet, they always had an aversion to “big tech.” IBM’s dominance led to Microsoft as the upstart. Microsoft’s dominance led to Google’s dominance. Google’s dominance is now at a place where consumers don’t trust the company. In 2012, a survey found that 63.4% of consumers trust Google. A survey from 2021 revealed that 69% of respondents are worried about the data Google collects. In the span of 9 years, we’ve seen quite a reversal. In the years since this survey, it’s likely continued to trend in that direction. “Big tech” has always been a concern for consumers. Who “big tech” is is the thing that keeps changing. Today’s upstart is often tomorrow’s distrusted company.


Google was great because it created amazing services for its customers. It saw needs and built solutions to solve those problems. Over the past few years, though, Google has been more focused on its stock price than its users. Because most of its products are free of ads, Google’s goal is to serve better-targeted advertisements. That goal isn’t aligned with a strong desire for privacy by customers. A vast majority, 84% of those surveyed, express a strong concern for privacy, emphasizing the importance of protecting personal data as well as the data of others in society. They also highlight a significant desire for increased control over their data usage. Google isn’t meeting that need in 2024. The Google of 2004 would have hated the Google of 2024 – no question about it. What made Google great was its ability to innovate. The Google of today forgot about innovating. They only care about advertising.


Advertising, marketing and targeting. Right on the bull's-eye. Success. Choose a goal, define a task. Purposefulness and insight. Succeed in work.



Taking back the internet, one app at a time

The frustration with Google is one of the reasons we launched Spike. We loved Gmail for many years. Many of us have been using it since 2004. It was launched with some amazing features that users flocked to. Billions of people use Gmail. It’s the default email service. It’s the new “Hotmail”. Between Microsoft and Google, they hold all of the attention in the enterprise for email. We think it’s time for a change. We think it’s time to release a service that the Google of 2004 would be proud of. We love email. We love its open nature. It doesn’t matter if you’re using a PC, Mac, Android, Chromebook, Linux, or anything else – anyone can use email. It’s an open protocol that no company controls, not even Big Tech. It’s time to build a new solution on top of email. A service for the people. A service that isn’t controlled by tech giants, who frankly only see you as a way to serve their shareholders. It’s time for a change.


We started with our email app that turned the legacy email experience into a next-generation communication tool. The email app was the Trojan horse of our vision, though. Spike for Teams was always our goal. Spike for Teams is email hosting and email domain for you – not for advertisers. Built with love for technology and respect for your privacy, Spike for Teams is the email hosting service built for the rest of us. It is built for those who are sick of big tech stifling innovation and mining every bit of data they can out of you.  It’s built for those who want an alternative to companies who simply want to know every bit of your personal data to better service advertisers. Spike for Teams doesn’t track you. We don’t have ads. We want to build an email and team chat service that takes email back from corporations looking to know and control everything about you. Spike for Teams is affordable, easy to use, and designed to help you work and communicate.

Oren Todoros
Oren Todoros Oren is a strategic thinker with over 20 years of experience in the marketing industry and is the current Head of Content Strategy at Spike. He's also the proud father of 3 beautiful daughters and a dog named Milo.

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