“Children of a Lesser Google”

Hey, remember when Google’s motto used to be “don’t be evil?” Vaht, you thought they still had it? I did too, but this…might not be evil, but it certainly seems a little unfair:

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Google India had launched a ‘Doodle 4 Google – My India’ contest in August. The Doodle is the logo design you see on the Google homepage. The theme of this competition was ‘My India’. On November 12, Google India announced at Taj Ambassador Hotel that tech hub Gurgaon based 4th standard school kid Puru Pratap has won the competition…a laptop computer for himself, a t-shirt with his doodle and Rs. 1 lakh (approx 2100 US dollars) for his school.

But his counterparts in USA and UK won substantially more. According to Google their US winner “will win a $15,000 college scholarship to be used at the school of their choice, a trip to the Google New York Office, a laptop computer, and a t-shirt printed with their doodle. We’ll also award the winner’s school a $25,000 technology grant towards the establishment/improvement of a computer lab.”

So let’s see: Indian winner = laptop + T-shirt + $2100 (for his school) + $0 (for himself)
US winner = laptop + T-shirt + trip to NY + $25,000 (for his school) + $15,000 (for himself)

Let me see…let me do the math…I dunno, maybe you need a special algorithm or something to make these two things equal? Because to my eyes, it looks like the Indian kid is getting royally screwed. It looks like the same contest, run by the same company, is rewarding a far lesser prize to the winner from one country than to the winner from another country.

The writer of the quoted piece goes on to point of various other prizes that are awarded equally to winners from all countries. She concludes:

Are we children of a lesser Google? Or is the Indian market less important? Perhaps Bing has the answer.

Dammit. I like Chrome.

42 thoughts on ““Children of a Lesser Google”

  1. ah yes… here it is:

    ” Human Rights Watch, a New York based campaign group, says a line has been crossed.

    “Google, Yahoo and Microsoft no longer carry out the censorship for the Chinese government,” says Asia Director, Brad Adams, “they are the censor.”

    This comment stems from the lack of clarity over what is being censored, who has initiated it, and why.

    There are two types of censoring at work. Firstly, whole websites are eliminated from Yahoo and Google in China. ….Additionally, typing in certain words, such as democracy, human rights, and the Chinese opposition group Falungong will produce error pages.

    In an official statement, Yahoo said: “It is our understanding that every internet and media company doing business in China receives a list of prohibited words. ” (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/6191171.stm)

    “Quentin, what exactly is going on with Google in China right now?

    "On Wednesday night, Google's international and Chinese websites were unavailable in many parts of China. Gmail disappeared too. Service has now been restored, at least in some places. China's internet watchdog says that Google promotes porn; the state broadcaster CCTV on 18 June broadcast a report saying something similar."
    

    Just a minute: I thought that those “don’t do evil” folks from Mountain View had done a deal a few years back which meant that they could go on operating in China in return for censoring certain search terms? “They did. If you search Google China for anything political or naughty, you get the following message: “‘According to the local laws and policy, part of the search results are not shown’ “Chinese internet users are even prevented from searching for the names of their leaders, Hu Jintao and Wen Jiaobao. “Of course, there are plenty of Chinese search engines that link to porn. The suspicion among some internet users is that Google’s rivals are using government connections to hobble their foreign competitor.”" (http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/technology/2009/06/china_and_google_whats_going_o.html)

  2. ah yes… here it is:

    ” Human Rights Watch, a New York based campaign group, says a line has been crossed.

    “Google, Yahoo and Microsoft no longer carry out the censorship for the Chinese government,” says Asia Director, Brad Adams, “they are the censor.” This comment stems from the lack of clarity over what is being censored, who has initiated it, and why. There are two types of censoring at work. Firstly, whole websites are eliminated from Yahoo and Google in China. ….Additionally, typing in certain words, such as democracy, human rights, and the Chinese opposition group Falungong will produce error pages. In an official statement, Yahoo said: “It is our understanding that every internet and media company doing business in China receives a list of prohibited words. ” (from BBC)

    “Quentin, what exactly is going on with Google in China right now?

    "On Wednesday night, Google's international and Chinese websites were unavailable in many parts of China. Gmail disappeared too. Service has now been restored, at least in some places. China's internet watchdog says that Google promotes porn; the state broadcaster CCTV on 18 June broadcast a report saying something similar."
    

    Just a minute: I thought that those “don’t do evil” folks from Mountain View had done a deal a few years back which meant that they could go on operating in China in return for censoring certain search terms? “They did. If you search Google China for anything political or naughty, you get the following message: “‘According to the local laws and policy, part of the search results are not shown’ “Chinese internet users are even prevented from searching for the names of their leaders, Hu Jintao and Wen Jiaobao. “Of course, there are plenty of Chinese search engines that link to porn. The suspicion among some internet users is that Google’s rivals are using government connections to hobble their foreign competitor.”" (from BBC)

  3. As the saying goes ‘Don’t look a gift horse in it’s mouth’. Google India is awarding the money in Indian rupees (Rs100,000). Have you seen any mutlinational company pay the same salary for their US employees (in the US) and Indian employees (in India)? They are paid the prwvailing wages in the country. This is the labor (wage) arbitrage which is one of the reasons for outsourcing and all the ensuing hand-wringing about it in the US. The writeup is making a mountain out of a molehill!

  4. Hmm, I do think it’s fair to take into consideration the value of the money in the respective countries as the previous commenter noted. The part that does seem unfair is that the Indian winner is not getting any personal compensation the way the other winners are. It’s fabulous that the school is benefiting, and of course I’m sure he is excited to receive the laptop. But it does seem unbalanced that the other kids get special trips and extra cash and he doesn’t.

  5. THe purchasing power parity between India and the US is about a factor of 10, so the compensation to the school is in line with this. It is too bad that the student didn’t get the equivalent of $1500 for himself; that is unfair.

  6. Second the Libran.

    Also, doesn’t Google have an office somewhere around in Gurgaon?? Methinks, that probably translates into a desi version of a trip to NY for bright li’l “tech hub Gurgaon based” Puru :)

  7. Indian winner = laptop + T-shirt + $2100 (for his school) + $0 (for himself)

    it looks like the Indian kid is getting royally screwed

    Are you plain stupid? or some inferiority complex maybe? Thank Google for conducting this competition and helping the child. Let’s see you do some work for children. Big mouth

  8. In other news, the Indian franchise of who wants to be a millionaire has a top prize of only ~$200000! $@#^$&%* … Time to boycott TV.

    (Silliest article I have seen in a while. The comparisons are just stupid.)

  9. Look, I remember winning a poster contest when I was in the 3rd grade an all I got was my drawing in some shitty calendar. This kid is getting far more for his dumbass doodle than it’s worth. If you think the world (or even Googld for that matter) owes you anything whether it’s a reward for a piece of junk drawing, or (insert wish) then you are either a) delusional or b) Googles marketing has actually succeeded in making you think they are on ‘your’ side.

  10. prizes are set by the corporate entities in the respective countries and reflect their ebit’s or marketing aspirations. hardly insidious.

  11. I am with Libran on this. Also, Indian market is less important. I am not sure, if it even exists.

  12. United States is a more competitive market for Google than India is. Also, the volumes of profits that Google possibly earns from developed nations is more than what it earns from doing business with emerging economies.

  13. As others have touched on, the different prizes reflect underlying differences between the countries–why is that bad in and of itself? Please to stop worshiping arid “formal” equality. Equality that matters is a much richer topic. Say you had $100, and a mandate to get kids in Japan and Kenya equally excited about a product–would you really offer $50 as a prize in both countries? That would not maximize kids’ excitement. . . .paging Philosophy 101.

  14. I’m certain the blog poster understands the ideas of purchasing power parity and the fact that the same U.S. dollar amount “goes further” in India. I’m sure she’s also aware that as a result, the salaries that multinationals pay in India are lower (in absolute U.S. dollar amounts) than in the U.S.

    What the poster is highlighting is that the U.S. child got a free trip to New York and a healthy amount of cash for himself or herself, but the Indian child did not. If not “unfair,” it appears to me as “bad form” for Google to do this. Google saves $1,500 plus the cost of an air ticket but risks appearing less kind to the Indian child.

    Here’s an analogy. Let’s say you live in India, and your brother lives in the U.S. For your birthday, you parents give you a brand new camera. For your brother’s birthday, your parents give him a brand new camera and $5,000 in cash. How does this make you feel?

  15. Google, Yahoo and Microsoft etc., are simply following the example of Rupert Murdoch, the old media tycoon, reactionary GOPer and National Review favourite. When China laid down its conditions, Murdoch bowed down and followed them to a T, “If you ask me to bow, I will bend, ask me to crawl and I will creep.” There are large numbers of people across political lines that are OK with China’s media policy.

  16. I am 100% with cicatrix on this. Even if it may not be the same amount, but it should have same parity in kid’s competition by Google.

    Maybe, even Nobel Prize and other competitive prizes have different amounts for different countries. But that aside, at least give the kid in India cash too.

    Now, let’s visit this: I am with Libran on this. Also, Indian market is less important. I am not sure, if it even exists.

    On the contrary, India is incredibly important for Google

    Last not the least, Google owns Orkut, and orkut is the biggest social network site in India and Brazil. Facebook to compete with orkut in India has a lighter version.

  17. The winner kid in India definitely deserves college scholarship money as a prize, even if it is not US $15,000. But then, how about the kids wants to get educated in US/ UK eventually.

    Dammit, those poor indian kids can get educated by the street lamp-post and be a better person, you Gunga Din.

  18. At the rates tuition is rising, how much college would $15,000 buy an American kid by the time they are college-aged? Maybe a half a semester?

  19. I think there is a valid point to the fact that the prizes are not equivalent, even after taking into consideration how much you can get for the rupee in India versus the dollar in the U.S. I doubt Google woke up in the morning going “hehehehe, let’s see how we can screw over the Indians today!” but, this world is a very connected place, and they should take into account the prizes they are giving and how they will look compared side by side.

    Of course, they didn’t have to do a contest at all, so we also need to take into account the fact that “hey cool! they offered up prize money to kids, encouraging creativity, etc”. So maybe the real message should be “Thanks for the contests, but next time, you might want to keep the global perspective in mind.”

    Also, I don’t think his drawing is crappy, I think it’s rather nice.Especially the peacock. Kudos to Puru.

    But like I said earlier, Google doesn’t have a clean report in “don’t be evil”…. Capitalism to capitalism hai.

  20. Maybe, even Nobel Prize and other competitive prizes have different amounts for different countries. But that aside, at least give the kid in India cash too.
    The winner kid in India definitely deserves college scholarship money as a prize, even if it is not US $15,000.
    Here’s an analogy. Let’s say you live in India, and your brother lives in the U.S. For your birthday, you parents give you a brand new camera. For your brother’s birthday, your parents give him a brand new camera and $5,000 in cash. How does this make you feel?

    Good Grief! This is basically a marketing push. The kids did not compete with each other The winner in India did not compete with the American winner. Different competitions => different rewards. And the kids deserves a scholarship?? For what?? a doodle that contributes nothing to Google’s bottom line, that does not contribute to anything to computing or society in general? Heck, the laptop, by itself is an amazing prize for this. I really do not see anything to justify the feeling of entitlement that I see here.

    If you want a something where Students compete with each other from all over the world, check out Google’s Summer of Code http://code.google.com/soc/2008/ The participants here actually contribute something useful to the world. The stipend for this is equal irrespective of the location of the applicant.

  21. I really do not see anything to justify the feeling of entitlement that I see here.

    dont lose your toupee old chapstick. this is to be expected. there’s a huge left-wing contingent on the forum. you can tell them by the chi-chi che berets, the totally militant doc martens , the utterly rad red bandannas and the jodhpurs via benetton. power to the people, dont taze me bro, we are the world, and all that sort of thing.

  22. Indian winner = laptop + T-shirt + $2100 (for his school) + $0 (for himself)

    Hey Stupidoh – when India invents Google then maybe your 4th standard school kid cousin can argue not having received as much as his US counter part. What a lame topic.

  23. $2100 is more than a year’s tution at IIT. $25,000 is a single semester’s tution at MIT. So, the Indian kid gets more degree than the US kid.

  24. Who invented the internet?

    What is the password to comment on this blog?

    Life is so unfair and so racist. DOWN WITH BIG INTERNET AND THEIR PRIZE MONEY!!!

  25. If you think that is unfair, wait until you hear this: Google didn’t even RUN this competition in Canada.

    So let’s see: Indian winner = laptop + T-shirt + $2100 (for his school) + $0 (for himself) US winner = laptop + T-shirt + trip to NY + $25,000 (for his school) + $15,000 (for himself) Canadian kid = NOTHING (for his school) + NOTHING (for himself)

    Just because the Canadian market is less important to them, Google thinks it can not run a contest for children there. I think we’re all in agreement that in order to not be evil Google has to run exactly the same competition in every sovereign nation simultaneously with identical prizes for all. After all, it’s only fair.

  26. Google’s been watching Danny Boyle’s plight :-) The demands never stop! So keep the US amount available, just in case the winning doodler’s parents keep asking more from Google Uncle

  27. India’s GDP is approximately 8.6% of that of the US…so if you adjust for that, it’s like is school got $24,400 and if you figure that each winners laptop was worth $2000 in the US, then it was like he was getting a laptop worth $23000

  28. I don’t understand. Why do people think it needs to be in any way equal? We don’t even need to adjust according to all kinds of things. Its simply NOT evil in any way to have two competitions with two different prizes. Are either of the kids’ doodles WORTH $2000? No, they are competition entrants. Its like saying all lotteries should have the same prize. For the Indian leg of the competition, $2000 was what they had to offer as a prize to generate enough interest in the competition. For the US, it was much higher. Now I’m not saying Indian kids deserve less than American kids, or that no-one would have entered if they offered less in the US. I’m saying its Google’s money and they deemed these prize values per country to have the highest promotional value per dollar spent on prizes. Its a business, not a charity, and they’re NOT making value judgements on the children of different nations. I assure you, big companies know that everyone’s money is still money. Damn, does anyone else get SO SICK of people playing the race card, and worse yet, it being played on other people’s behalf.

  29. Just because the Canadian market is less important to them, Google thinks it can not run a contest for children there.

    More than marketing Google has a R&D center in India which will grow in future, this is probably to keep the young folks interested. Many under grads in India put lots of effort to get into their ‘dream company’, Probably Google wants to be the first dream company for all the Indian kids.

  30. What kind of attitude is this? You can’t ask a company to raise the value of the prize for a competition… Its like you win a lottery and ask them for twice the money… if the money doesn’t pay your effort, don’t compete… Competitions are meant to be fun… not a place for greed for prizes!

  31. In other news, the Indian franchise of who wants to be a millionaire has a top prize of only ~$200000

    Not ~$200000, but ~$400000. Inflation catches up with everything.

  32. i don’t entirely agree with cicatrix, but she has a very valid point. its almost pointless to comment at this point since there are so many flamers on this site~!

  33. Ohh how unfair that is. But I sure do love Chrome.. and google has been good to all of us, yes? Who can say no to the free navigation app?

  34. Tax implications for both google and the winner is probably another reason for the discrepancy. Sure the optics look bad, but with the little knowledge I know about foreign taxes, there might have been more thought and discussion before awarding this combination of prizes.