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Does Google Regret 'Don't Be Evil' Motto?

The Sydney Morning Herald's Asher Moses says that Google VP Marissa Mayer tried to tiptoe away from the company's much-maligned "Don't be Evil" motto in an interview last week. "It really wasn't like an elected, ordained motto," said Mayer, who was Google's 20th employee. "I think that 'Don't Be Evil' is a very easy thing to point at when you see Google doing something that you personally don't like. It (the motto) is good PR but really it's empty because it's questionable whether shareholders will care (whether Google is evil or not)," she said.

Indeed, the quest to provide an ever-increasing return on investment for shareholders, the primary objective of any public company, has made Google's motto infamous. Naturally, when the company comes under intense scrutiny for its privacy policies or its co-operation with countries with atrocious human rights records, "Don't Be Evil" inevitably rises to the surface.

So, does the company regret the motto? Mayer doesn't say. "I think that what we're doing is very meaningful," she said. "It's very important, it's serious, it has large-scale ramifications for people in their lives and as a result we need to take it very seriously and we should be held to a very high standard regardless of whether it's self imposed or imposed through public scrutiny."

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