Tech Talk: Silicon Valley Decries Trump, Google Stays Quiet

Politics is normally a sensitive issue, to be broached carefully by only the most educated and knowledgeable figures, when it's in the public eye. Recent events, however, have dragged the subject of politics kicking and screaming into the center of the public eye. Between the US presidential election taking a turn for the radical on all fronts and the UK exiting the EU, followed shortly by British Prime Minister David Cameron making his own exit, anybody unwilling to keep up with and talk about politics at this point, on the world stage at that, is giving up some very critical information and the opinions and possibly actions that would come with them. In the United States in particular, the political scene went into an uproar for this year's election when news outlets, blogs and the like began finding and pointing out flaws of each candidate. While each different part of the nation seems to have different general ideals, a good number of like-minded individuals in the US have banded together to speak out against Donald Trump. Silicon Valley, for example, holds a very well-known anti-Trump stance, for the most part. For many reasons, Google generally prefers to stay out of politics unless it's a human rights or equality issue, or something else that necessitates taking a stand. Thus, even with the perception of Trump as an out-of-touch tyrant being a popular one, Google has not stepped up to give a public stance on him.

Meanwhile, a group of Silicon Valley leaders, some of whom are big names like Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, put out an open letter recently that very plainly demonstrates exactly how they feel about Donald Trump, his ideals, his platforms, and how they think he would perform as president of the United States. The letter starts as a proud send-up of American innovation in the tech sector, and a celebration of concepts like diversity and open communication. Given that the main point of the letter is to make the tech sector's opinion on a candidate clear, they would inevitably have to talk about that candidate, and talk they do. Phrases like "traffics in ethnic and racial stereotypes", and "demonstrating both poor judgment and ignorance about how technology works" are thrown around, making the opinion of the letter writers exceedingly clear. That opinion, a disclaimer says, does not belong to any company, rather only to the people signing. Still, the letter lacks the signatures of even a single current Google employee, bearing the signatures of two former employees in somewhat high-ranking management roles instead.

Whether this gesture speaks to how stoic Google is in their refusal to get into politics, or the fact that they simply don't want their opinion out there, it's abundantly clear that even the most concerted efforts of the tech world to come together in the political space will likely never involve Google. The company has multiple reasons to stay neutral, of course; the biggest of these, it should go without saying, is that either candidate could end up in office right now, and Google would need their presidential support on a number of initiatives and continuing ventures. Self-driving cars, for example, needed a boot to the rear by none other than President Barack Obama to get lawmakers moving in the right direction. Sidewalk Labs, meanwhile, is all set to not only make over existing cities, but begin working on their own. All the while, Google faces down antitrust scrutiny in the US and abroad. All of these things would be good reasons to want to stay on a president's good side.

Another possible reason for Google to keep their nose out of current happenings in politics, of course, is the rather straightforward matter of unity. No matter where the tech sector and Google's own people go, the company, and its parent company, Alphabet, can adapt by remaining neutral. While some may down Google for not taking action on some issues, they have proven in the past that they will stand up when it's really needed. Besides those times, though, they are making a very wise move by staying seated and staying silent; no matter which way support goes, no matter who is in what offices, no matter what public opinion says, nobody will be able to outright say that their opinion matches Google's, or that Google is their enemy, and at the top of such a broad industry, that's a very good ace to have up your sleeve.

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About the Author
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Daniel Fuller

Senior Staff Writer
Daniel has been writing for Android Headlines since 2015, and is one of the site's Senior Staff Writers. He's been living the Android life since 2010, and has been interested in technology of all sorts since childhood. His personal, educational and professional backgrounds in computer science, gaming, literature, and music leave him uniquely equipped to handle a wide range of news topics for the site. These include the likes of machine learning, voice assistants, AI technology development, and hot gaming news in the Android world. Contact him at [email protected]
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