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Google's 'Don't be evil' creed disappears as company morphs into Alphabet

Google's 'Don't be evil' creed disappears as company morphs into Alphabet


Alphabet employees should still 'do the right thing'

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For Google, with a new parent company comes a new code of conduct, and there's a pretty noticeable change. The search company's famous creed — "don't be evil" — is absent from Alphabet's new code of conduct.

The new code of conduct was published on Friday after Google officially completed its transformation into one of several organizations within a parent company, which is called Alphabet.

"Don't be evil" has been part of Google for over a decade, and it's the very first line of the search company's code of conduct. While Alphabet isn't using the well-known phrase in its new code of conduct, the intention is arguably still there. The first line instead now reads: "Employees of Alphabet and its subsidiaries ... should do the right thing — follow the law, act honorably, and treat each other with respect."

You can be evil so long as you "do the right thing"

Also missing is some of the stronger language around how the company should operate, including the line: "everything we do in connection with our work at Google will be, and should be, measured against the highest possible standards of ethical business conduct."

Overall, the new code of conduct is more general. As The Wall Street Journal notes, it scraps some of the quirky details from Google's detailed version, including guidelines on alcohol at work and a dissuasion from bringing cats to the office. By laying out a broader set of rules at the top level, Alphabet is leaving the door open for its other subsidiaries to cultivate their own work culture that possibly deviates from that of Google. Maybe Nest employees will decide that cats do have a home in the workplace.

Even though Google is underneath Alphabet, its own, more specific code of conduct remains largely the same, and it retains the "don't be evil" motto. And since most of Alphabet's employees work at Google, that means "don't be evil" is still very much alive and well in Mountain View.