Alphabet and Google employees are being trained to assume every document will become public, so company execs are asking employees to avoid using certain words and phrases when communicating things internally and externally.
The document titled “Global Competition Policy” says it applies not only to interns and employees but also to temps, vendors and contractors -- in total, more than 100,000. It is reportedly part of a self-guided training tool for a range of Alphabet companies.
“The documents explain the basics of antitrust law and caution against loose talk that could have implications for government regulators or private lawsuits," reports nonprofit newsroom The Markup, which focuses on how technology changes society.
Words like “User Preference for Google Search” should replace the term “market share,” and the word “reach” should replace the word “share” when discussing figures.
Google spokesperson Julie Tarallo McAlister wrote in an email to The Markup that “these are completely standard competition law compliance trainings that most large companies provide to their employees. … We’ve had these trainings in place for well over a decade.”
Part of the document subtitled “Communicating Safely” advises employees on “Bad” and “Good” terms -- even how to use the terms in a sentence.
Rather than using “barriers to entry,” the document suggests substituting the phrase with the word “challenges.”
The document suggests replacing the sentence “Target has created a unique and unmatched product with significant network effects that create high barriers to entry” with the sentence “Target’s product provides a new option that consumers are finding increasingly valuable.
Another positive buzzword -- one used when talking about the Fitbit acquisition -- is when Risk Osterloh, SVP for devices and services at Google, wrote that the Fitbit deal “will increase choice, and create engaging products and helpful experiences for consumers.”
Interestingly, in the midst of several ongoing anticompetitive investigations by the U.S. government, The Markup also points out “Five Rules of Thumb for Written Communications” for Google employees.