Why Google Gets Away With So Much
It’s time to stop letting ourselves be the ‘abandoned carcass’ of our data
“We shine the light on whatever’s worst
Tryna fix something
But you can’t fix what you can’t see…”
– Beyonce, “Pretty Hurts”
Just say what pops into your head first, no Googling. When you hear Amazon.com, who do you think of?
Jeff Bezos, right?
Let’s try this again. When I say Apple, you think…
Steve Jobs or Tim Cook. Automatic. Maybe you threw in Steve Wozniak. (Look at you!)
Well, duh: Mark Zuckerberg, with Sheryl Sandberg trailing behind.
Now let’s try a slightly harder one: who first comes to mind when I say Google?
It’s possible you said Sergey Brin or Larry Page, but unlikely — neither Google co-founder has ever become a household name like Jobs or Bezos or Zuckerberg.
Maybe you said Eric Schmidt, the closest thing Google had to a public leader for much of the Obama era. Or perhaps you said Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google and now its parent company Alphabet.
But it probably took you, at the very least, a half-second longer than it did for Amazon, Apple, and Facebook. That is, if you thought of someone at all.
Why is that? And why does it matter so much?
Google doesn’t have a human face
Almost every major tech giant but Google has, as a matter of course, a CEO who appears frequently on TV or in the pages of newspapers and magazines of their own volition.
For most public-facing tech companies, this would seem to be a no-brainer: you cement and promote the hoodie-clad rebel genius founder myth; you get to reuse and hone the same communications resources you use in investor storytime; and in doing so, you hopefully inoculate yourself from concerns over how you’re using people’s data. After all, your founders and leaders are celebrities, but they’re also human, just like us! And because we can relate to them, we are more likely to ignore the terms and conditions on your website or service.
As humans, we have a prejudice…