“Bad day for the internet. Having been there, I can imagine the dissension @Google to search being warped this way.” tweeted former Google lawyer Alex Macgillivray yesterday.
Macgillivray, now Twitter’s general counsel for policy, was referring to the move by Google to apparently warp its search results by boosting posts from its Google+ social network. Certainly, Google+ needs all the help it can get.
In an official statement, Twitter said: “We’re concerned that as a result of Google’s changes, finding information [via Twitter] will be much harder for everyone. We think that’s bad for people, publishers, news organisations and Twitter users.”
It’s not like lawyers to slag off previous employers, with this conservative group normally keen to maintain good relations in a profession that even on a global level can feel surprisingly like a village where everyone knows each other.
But the fast-moving tech industry, where in-house lawyers like to think of themselves as a little bit cooler than their corporate counterparts, obviously has different norms.
Google, which on the basis of my dealings with their UK office is paranoid about privacy, must be fuming with Macgillivray, 38, who started out at specialist Silicon Valley law firm Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. Happily for Macgillivray, the company’s hands are tied by its motto, “Don’t be evil”. But does that apply to ex’s who’ve crossed the mighty internet giant?