Is it jet lag that causes executives' lips to loosen overseas? Surely Google VP Marissa Mayer must understand that words uttered in Australia will reach California much faster than a Qantas flight. Her indiscretion down under: Backing away from Google's informal motto, "don't be evil," in an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald. "It really wasn't like an elected, ordained motto," Mayer told the newspaper. "I think that 'Don't Be Evil' is a very easy thing to point at when you see Google doing something that you personally don't like." Mayer then gave this dodge when asked if Google should be held to a higher standard than its competitors:
I don't think that we should be held to a lower standard. I think that what we're doing is very meaningful, it's very important, it's serious, it has large-scale ramifications for people in their lives and as a result we need to take it very seriously and we should be held to a very high standard regardless of whether it's self imposed or imposed through public scrutiny.
Translated, the doctrine of Don't Be Evil, according to Google's cupcake princess: You're allowed to hold Google to some undefined standard of behavior, certainly no worse than its rivals'. But if you dislike what Google is doing? Kindly shut up. Google already takes this stuff seriously, and they don't need to hear it from you.