Google Being Evil in Kenya

Today we hear the sad sad story of how Google is apparently behind a nefarious plot to steal business away from 🙁

For those that do not know, Mocality is one of Kenya’s largest business directories with over 170,000 verified businesses in its database. it has been in Kenya for a number of years.

Late last year, Google launched the “KBO” initiative to get Kenyan businesses online by offering them ‘free’ websites built on Google technology.

Clearly, Google had seen and concluded that Mocality is one of their biggest competitors as far as KBO goes. So what did they do? They hired/sponsored/authorized a team of people to systematically go through Mocality’s database and call each business listed therein. The caller then pretended that Google was in partnership with Mocality and asked the business to move to KBO. So, in effect, Google was lying to these businesses to get them to move from Mocality to KBO.

I’m sorry…. what? I thought Google’s mantra was “don’t be evil”?. I guess they thought they would not be caught since we are in, you know, Kenya.

Read more about this here: GOOGLE, WHAT WERE YOU THINKING? 🙁

Nelson Mattos, Google’s Vice-President for Product and Engineering, Europe and Emerging Markets, writes:

We were mortified to learn that a team of people working on a Google project improperly used Mocality’s data and misrepresented our relationship with Mocality to encourage customers to create new websites. We’ve already unreservedly apologised to Mocality. We’re still investigating exactly how this happened, and as soon as we have all the facts, we’ll be taking the appropriate action with the people involved.

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