Google acting on principle

There has been much debate about Google pulling out of China.  Some people see it as vindication of Google’s values — the “do no evil”.  Others see it as a simple business matter, that Google wasn’t the leader in the China search market.  In this second version Google is acting cynically, cloaking their actions under the mantle of sticking to its values.

So I looked around for another instance where it appears that Google is, in fact, acting on principle.  I found that in South Korea.  A year ago, on April Fool’s Day, April 1st, the Korean government passed a law requiring that anyone uploading a video or a comment to provide their real name and national identity number.  That meant any and all uploads or comments on YouTube had to use your real name.

Imagine that you are now required to put your legal name, social security number and drivers license in order to upload a video to YouTube.

Rather than violate their values and hurt their reputation, Google disabled the ability to upload a video or comment to YouTube from South Korea.

That is strong evidence that Google takes its brand values so serious that they guide business decisions.

It’s not a widely know part of the brand story we tell ourselves about Google.  A footnote to most people outside of Korea.  An important point nonetheless.

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