[PW] Google "Don't Be Evil" Motto (Quotation Query #740)

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com
Mon Apr 4 18:07:20 PDT 2016

Internet Archive Wayback Machine has a snapshot of a webpage at
google.com that advertised "Great Jobs at Google". The earliest
snapshot for the webpage was taken March 27, 2002. I think this is a
reliable date. The snapshot webpage for March 27, 2002 displays the
"Don't be evil." motto.

[Begin excerpt]
10 Things Google has found to be true:

1) Focus on the user and all else will follow.
2) It's best to do one thing really, really well.
3) Fast is better than slow.
4) Democracy on the web works.
5) You don't need to be at your desk to need an answer.
6) You can make money without doing evil.
7) There's always more information out there.
8) The need for information crosses all borders.
9) You can be serious without a suit.
10) Great just isn't good enough.

In a word, Google's goal is to do important stuff that matters to a
lot of people. In pursuit of that goal, we've developed a set of
values that drive our work, including one of our most cherished core
values: "Don't be evil."
[End excerpt]

Kudos to Barry Popik who led the way by finding a webpage dated July
17, 2002 in the Wayback Machine containing the same "10 Things" list.

Here is a link to the March 27, 2002 snapshot:

Warning: It seems possible that an old snapshot might bring in some
new material via a script or some other way. I do not know if the
Wayback machine properly isolates webpages during display to prevent

However, for this Google webpage, I used 'View Page Source" and found
that the motto "Don't be evil" appears directly in the html code. So I
think it is a legitimate date. I welcome feedback on this topic.


On Sun, Apr 3, 2016 at 10:54 AM, Shapiro, Fred <fred.shapiro at yale.edu> wrote:
> The earliest occurrence on LexisNexis of Google's motto "Don't be evil" is a Dec. 24, 2002 article quoting Sergey Brin using it.  I would welcome any help in tracing this motto back before then.  I know of the information on Wikipedia, but I want to trace the earliest findable primary or secondary citation for this motto.
> Fred Shapiro
> _______________________________________________
> Project Wombat - Project-wombat
> list at project-wombat.org
> http://www.project-wombat.org/

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