Google is not evil… right?

Has Google lost sight of its “do no evil” strategy?

On December 14th, Google decided that every blog post that you’ve ever shared with a specific person should immediately be shared with everyone in your Contacts list.

As lovingly described on Felipe Hoffa’s blog:

No need to opt-in, no way to opt-out. If you didn’t react fast all the info you previously shared with your chosen parties could be viewable by everyone you had exchanged e-mails (using Gmail data).

Everyone. Family, friends, people at work, customers, vendors, everyone. Immediately. No choice. Hope you weren’t on vacation.

One of Google’s (few) responses to piles of angry forums posts was:

We just added a new option for those of you wishing to rearrange your sharing habits in light of the new features.


And it’s still not fixed.

As Google collects more and more info, we must trust them more and more. And so long as Google retains its Benevolent Dictator status, the benefits probably outweigh the possible disadvantages.

But their insistence on this subject could be a bad sign. Mistakes are fine so long as you admit them and fix the problem. JetBlue’s delay debacle took them from being at the top of customer satisfaction ratings in 2006 to being removed even from consideration in some 2007 satisfaction polls. Today JetBlue is back at the top of customer service ratings. Why? Because they turned what could have been disaster into an opportunity to demonstrate that, no really, they are concerned with customer well-being, and they immediately went on the record saying so and explaining how they will ensure that type of problem never happens again. And they did what they said.

Google is in the same position now, but they have just the opposite response. Facebook capitulated; Google needs to also.