“Recent news stories reference an internal email to suggest that we would compromise the integrity of our Search results for a political end. This is absolutely false. We do not bias our products to favor any political agenda. The trust our users place in us is our greatest asset and we must always protect it. If any Googler ever undermines that trust, we will hold them accountable.”
Pichai may also be defending the results of an internal email chain in which employees discussed ideas for including information in search results. Here we see some of the internal debate:
“Can we launch an ephemeral experience that includes Highlights, up-to-date info from the US State Dept, DHS, links to donate to ACLU, etc?” the email added.
Several officials responded favorably to the overall idea. “We’re absolutely in…Anything you need,” one wrote.
But a public-affairs executive wrote: “Very much in favor of Google stepping up, but just have a few questions on this,” including “how partisan we want to be on this.”
“To the extent of my knowledge, we’d be breaching precedent if we only gave Highlights access to organizations that support a certain view of the world in a time of political conflict,” the public-affairs executive said. “Is that accurate? If so, would we be willing to open access to highlights to [organizations] that…actually support the ban?”
Read Pichai’s entire email to staff. Who is the audience and what are Pichai’s communication objectives? How well does he meet them? What organizational structure does Pichai use?
How well does Pichai take and assign accountability about Google’s search debate?
What’s your view of the internal email discussion? What, if anything, surprises you about this discussion? It was, of course, intended to stay internal.