Google´s corporate slogan “don’t be evil” was suggested by Paul Buchheit and Amit Patel, two Google employees. As the colourful Google logo does, the slogan underlines the friendly innocence of a company that counts net income mainly from online advertising of $ 6.5 Billion in 2009 and stores a vast number of user data, used to do succeed in its business. Now Google wants to enter Germany’s streets with cameras on cars that shoot pictures of every street to display them online. Google Street View was first introduced in the United States in 2007 and only covered areas in the US. Since 2008 it expands to the world. Since many Germans seem to be reluctant to let their streets being photographed by cameras on black Google cars, Google uses its old trick. It lulls the Germans with a colourful campaign.
At Cebit 2010 the unevil company exhibits nothing but three cars with cameras on their roofs painted by Miami Ad School-students in colours that remind the Google logo. The cars are there to soft-pedal Germans problems with pictures of shops, houses, cars and people in their neighbourhoods. The lulling seems to work, since Cebit visitors take pictures of the cars, like I do (see above).
… and I approach a girl with the Google logo on her black shirt to get an idea of the car gag. “It is because people are afraid of the black cars in their street, we painted them.” “What?” “Yes people don’t like the black, so now they are multicoloured.” O.k., so Google thinks people are stupid…? I go to a man with a beard in private clothes, who is one of the brains behind the campain. The chat with Mr. G. from Picture, a creative agency based in London, unveils more sophisticated aspects of the car thing. His message: “Google is innovative, if others don’t do it, Google does it.” Damned right. What’s also right: “If I don’t protect my privacy, nobody does.” So drive away your colourful cars and take pictures of yourself with your cameras. Black or coloured, evil or not evil. We would use our own cameras, if we wanted photos of our streets.