All over the internet, in particular on social networking sites, a debate concerning Google and their presumed support for gay causes is spreading like a wildfire on a windy summers day in California. And it’s all down to a so called “doodle”, the banner thing around the search field on google.com which changes with different seasons, different causes, different attitudes Google wants to be associated with. All perfectly understandable. Though, when Google decided to show support during the Gay Pride month, they choose to be very selective.
If you for example search for “gay marriage”, the rainbow banner shows up next to the search field.
If you choose to search for “anti gay marriage”, it doesn’t.
Is this surprising? In a way; no. Though, what the debate is really about has probably got more to do with Google’s unwavering support of the LGBT movement in earlier causes like the Proposition 8 in California, where they backed the gay community. Google have been strong in their support for gay rights for many years, participating in Gay Pride marches all over the world, writing about it on their official blog. So why the change? Or is there a change? Is this debate simply caused by a group of people having picked up on the wrong signals, interpreting values and wavering support as something that they should be opposed to, but really, the issue doesn’t exist? It is undoubtedly a hairy situation.
Maybe Google doesn’t deserve all this bad press. However, I strongly believe that if you have chosen to show support for a cause, any cause, you have to stick with it. If not, debates like this will cling to your reputation and trademark for a very long time. No company big or small would want that. With Google’s action of applying the “doodle” to just gay supportive searches, the question of wanting to rub the back of the important pink money while not wanting to loose out on the support from the ultra conservative republicans is not unjustified. You can’t support two opposite causes at once. If you do, it’s generally called hypocrisy.
So I guess the question still stands; what is Google’s view on this? They say they haven’t changed their support nor their views, but I wonder why they have become scared? The LGBT movement is I’m sure happy and grateful for the duration of the “doodle”, a whole month as opposed to a day or two which is the norm for Google’s other specially themed “doodles”, but that is not the point. The point and question is “why so selective?”
In due course we might all have forgotten about this, and it is going to be interesting to see what Google does in June 2012. Maybe there won’t be a “doodle” next year. But until then, they have raised a bigger, overall question in what supporting a cause really mean.