Opportunities to quiz an executive from search
giant Google in person come few and far between.
That's why when I attended the launch of Google's new
Australian office last week there was only one question on my
mind. It related to Google's famous informal corporate motto: "Don't
As Google Australia's executive team fielded questions from
the press I knew my opportunity had come.
"Have you guys done anything evil in Australia yet?" I asked
as the room erupted into laughter.
Google Australia's head of sales and operations, Kate Vale,
looked confused and asked me to repeat the question.
"Never, we do no evil," was her eventual reply.
While I'm obviously not privy to secrets held close to the
chests of Google's Australian crew, Vale could be right.
Google Australia's main activities seem to consist of quietly
gathering Web site traffic, selling ads and building more
functionality into its Google Maps product.
But it wasn't all easy street for Vale during the press
At one point her singing skills were publicly outed as Google
played a kitschy promotional video of employees around the world singing
a version of "Ain't No Mountain High Enough".
As Google's Australian staff put in a brief cameo on the
video, Vale and her engineering counterpart Lars Rasmussen looked
distinctly uncomfortable on the other side of the stage.
It appears that despite the massive amount of hype surrounding
Google, the company is not immune from a plague that has troubled
the best of corporate giants -- bad marketing videos.