Google officially became Alphabet Friday afternoon, but the new parent company has done away with its predecessor’s well-known motto “Don’t be evil.”
Alphabet posted its new code of conduct for employees Friday afternoon, and that famed phrase was notably absent, as first noticed by The Wall Street Journal’s Alistair Barr.
The two codes of conduct are markedly different: The Google code, written for its 2004 IPO, is longer and includes rules relating to coworker relationships, pets, and at-work alcohol consumption, while Alphabet’s sticks to the basics, like about how employees should maintain integrity and avoid bribery.
By omitting the line and releasing a more general code of conduct, Alphabet leaves room for each of its subdivisions – like hardware-maker Nest or “moonshot” factory Google X – to form their own rules and company cultures.
But still, it’s fairly jarring, given how, as Google’s reach has expanded, “Don’t be evil” had become so symbolic to its supporters and critics alike.
Also, perhaps because Alphabet’s first line – which says that employees should “follow the law, act honorably, and treat each other with respect” – just doesn’t have the same ring to it as “Don’t be evil” does. The majority of employees still work at Google versus Alphabet.
Here’s the preface to Google’s code:
And to Alphabet’s: