Google’s “Do no evil”

People make fun of Google’s “do no evil” motto. But, in their case, its not just ethics but good business. Google lives and dies by the good will of its users and customers — none of whom have, in a practical sense, very strong lock in to Google’s technology. At the same time, much of the low hanging fruit for a search company like Google, involves doing kinda creepy things (like pay-for-placement, selling data mined from users, etc) . In order to last and avoid the fate of their predecessors, they have to walk a fine line — “Do no evil” seems like an excellent guide.

ok, now you know there’s trouble

Thanks to a Web Alert over at Google, I’ve been reading just about every article printed on housing prices in the Bay Area. After you’ve read a dozen or so, you begin to see a pattern — an economist will say the values in the market have departed from fundmentals; a realtor or someone from a realtor association will sat “no they haven’t – there are more buyers than houses for sale”. In other words, scarcity is all that matters.

Well, now even the realtors ar forced to concede there is more than one force at work in setting house prices; and that a new one is about to start exerting itself:

“In San Francisco, the median home price is $648,000. That tells the story right there,” said David Lereah, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors. “You need a very high median income to qualify for that mortgage. At some point, the cup has runneth over, and something has to give, and that may be prices.”

The tide seems to be turning in the coverage of housing — from “oh my gosh, those crazy house prices just keep on climbing” to “ok, we all know this isn’t real”.