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Okay, Google,

This is the body politic… or rather, an individual purporting to represent the body politic. We just wanted to write you a letter in order to vent some repressed feelings. Open and honest communication is important in our relationship with you, because you know everything about us. 

Literally, everything… our communications, curiosities, hopes, fears, dreams, and other such concepts that are commonly clustered together. And I can’t speak for anyone else (even though that is precisely what I’m doing), but I think we need to have this talk.

We need to figure out our respective life directions, Google, and we just want to ensure that our directions are aligned. Because you’re a multinational corporation with a war chest of technology and resources, and you’ve publicly expressed a sense of uncertainty regarding your identity and purpose. In fact, Larry Page said that you’ve outgrown your 14-year old mission statement. And you could totally turn into a real life LexCorp like that.

It isn’t easy for me to express these concerns to you, Google. This is actually really hard for me to say, because you’ve been such a good friend. You’ve been really, really helpful…

I know that when I searched for advice on how to hold my tattered relationship together, you were there. When I searched for a little something-something on the side, you gave me helpful tips as we conspired to cover up my tracks. Tips such as: “Psst! Incognito mode may come in handy next time.”  You were even there when I Googled the various symptoms that resulted from that little tryst.

Now, it’s entirely possible that not all of us have Googled these things, but I think it’s safe to say we have some collective concerns. What if you, as our closest confidante, were to one day turn against us? Like when Pacino’s consigliere, Robert Duvall, finally betrayed him at the end of The Godfather Part III?

Actually, never mind, Duvall inexplicably wasn’t in Part III; but you can see where we’re going with this. You have too much power. And many of us have bought into the narrative that you are a potentially nefarious corporate entity.

Were you one of the companies that cooperated with the NSA so that government pervs could get all up in our business? I don’t know, but probably. I would check to find out, but then I’d have to Google it and that would just seem ironic and silly.

At the very least, you sold our data to companies that wanted to market their products to us with a creepy level of familiarity. Let me paint you a picture (yes, yes, I know there’s Google Images for that, but I’m being allegorical right now). Let’s suppose I went to a friend’s party, and while there I helped myself to some tortillas and dip… 

And let us suppose that while I was eating that crunchy snack, I felt a presence behind me, a sort of breathing upon the back of my neck, and I turned around to see an awkward individual eagerly informing me: “So you like salsa, huh? Buy discount airfares to Latin America or take local dance classes!” That would be a weird scenario, and in that scenario, Google, you know who you’d be.

I know you’re dealing with some stuff right now, some issues of your own and whatnot. The European court of justice just ruled against you on the “right to be forgotten” issue. The Euros think it’s creepy that you retain so much info on people. Now that issue is of course nuanced by all kinds of ambiguous complexities, but I see your position on that. You have been proud of indiscriminately indexing all types of information for so long. For you, this is like Alex Trebek becoming belligerent with a contestant for being too damn good at Jeopardy. And the contestant is like, “Alex! All I ever wanted to do was make you proud!” But Alex just shakes his head disapprovingly as he scrunches his Trebekian nose and shifts his little mustache from side to side, and says, “You’ve done me wrong, kid.”

Anyway, Google, when your chief executive Larry Page recently confessed that Google has outgrown its original mission statement, and elaborated that he doesn’t know how to alter it just yet, that scared us a little bit. These are Larry’s own words: “We’re in a bit of uncharted territory. We’re trying to figure it out.”

So I guess what we really want to say here, Google, is that we hope you don’t go all Skynet on us. I mean, that really is the collective fear here. We’re afraid of people-killing robots.   As you embark on the mysteriously challenging process of redefining your company mission statement, be sure to remember that “don’t be evil” thing you promised to us way back when.

Signed,the body politic/the hypervigilant techies at V+CO

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