Google Mission Statement: Stays In Place While Company Evolves

Larry Page, Google’s co-founder and chief executive, once said there was a need to change Google's mission statement. However, once the company created Alphabet Inc., it was able to hold on to the original one while adopting new philosophies to other ventures.
Google Mission Statement, CEO, Larry Page
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – MAY 15: Larry Page, Google co-founder and CEO speaks during the opening keynote at the Google I/O developers conference at the Moscone Center on May 15, 2013 in San Francisco, California. Thousands are expected to attend the 2013 Google I/O developers conference that runs through May 17. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The Google Mission Statement has stayed the same, but continues to evolve.

In a 2014 interview with The Financial Times, Larry Page once said Google was trying to capitalize on its success in its search business by staking claims in developing markets such as robotics, biotech and other industries that can have direct benefits to quality-of-life issues.

“We’re in a bit of uncharted territory,” Page told The Financial Times. “We’re trying to figure it out. How do we use all these resources . . . and have a much more positive impact on the world?”

Page insisted in the interview that the company’s societal goals are still primary, even though “we’ve not succeeded as much as we’d like.”

Google’s original mission statement was “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” In 2014, Page suggested the Internet giant was due for a change to mission statement. “I think we do, probably,” Page told The Financial Times. “We’re still trying to work that out.”

It’s unofficial motto used to be “Don’t be evil,” a phrase which appears on its Code of Conduct page for employees and investors. This unofficial motto was dropped in 2015 when Google’s newly created parent company, Alphabet, got rid of it.

“Employees of Alphabet and its subsidiaries and controlled affiliates should do the right thing—follow the law, act honorably, and treat each other with respect.” According to TIMEAlphabet subsidiaries will be able to adopt their own motions and codes to reflect their own cultures.

The Alphabet Inc. move ended up being the catalyst for the change that Page foresaw in the 2014 interview with The Financial Times. By creating Alpabet Inc., Page was able to remove Google from other-related ventures while keeping the original mission statement in place.

In a letter announcing Alphabet, Page wrote: “We’ve long believed that over time companies tend to get comfortable doing the same thing, just making incremental changes. But in the technology industry, where revolutionary ideas drive the next big growth areas, you need to be a bit uncomfortable to stay relevant.” He said that organizing the world’s information will continue to be the company’s core mission statement.

Former Google People Chief, Laszlo Bock once wrote the Google Mission Statement differed from many Fortune 500 companies in that it is a moral goal, not a business goal. “A mission that is about being a ‘market leader,’ once accomplished, offers little more inspiration. The broad scope of our mission allows Google to move forward by steering with a compass rather than a speedometer,” he wrote in 2015.

According to Bock, the mission statement “provided a touchstone for keeping the culture strong” as the company grew from a tech start up to the multinational corporation it has become.

UPDATED 6/1/18


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