Tuesday, February 15, 2011


A brand’s identity is much more than the image it creates in its advertising, or the buzz swirling around its products. It’s also in its collective behavior - the way it approaches its business partners and rivals, the media and the rest of the world.

On that basis, it seems Google might be taking a sharp turn towards the nasty. The firm that famously exhorted its employees, “don’t be evil”, may be abandoning that friendly approach. Earlier this month, the company jumped on its soapbox to denounce Microsoft for copying Google results in its own search engine, Bing.

The reaction to this from some in the tech community wasn’t what Google expected. There was a surprising amount of backlash critical of the search giant for picking a fight.

The criticism was justified. Leaving aside its nice-guy motto and philosophy, Google is clear and away the top search destination on the internet; as #1, it should also be clear and away from petty sniping with a distant rival. Like its foray into mobile operating systems, MP3 players and… well, anything else that isn’t a buggy PC operating system, Microsoft is a pale competitor to anyone. On top of that, their traditionally aggressive business practices and competition-choking moves have not made it a popular firm among most of humanity.

So why bother bashing them at all? The number one company should be above that, first of all, and secondly, attacking Microsoft is a simple shot at an easy target. Both make Google look petty and pissy; is that the image one of the top world-beating companies, and one of the most recognized brands, should be projecting?

I’m not condoning plagiarism here. Readers of this blog know my feelings on that subject. Plagiarizers should be called out… but only that. Attacks and denouncements on the part of the plagiarized serve only to make the offended party seem undignified and small-minded. It’s much better to fly above the controversy than slop around in the mud.

Here’s what Gord Hotchkiss of Search Insider had to say about Google last, in his post A ‘Page’ From Google’s PR Book.

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