Google The Good

Google Earth, a satellite mapping service from the search giant that seeks to “do no evil,” has teamed with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in a bold move to shine light on the crisis in Darfur, Sudan.
photo courtesy of Houtlust
Thanks to this initiative, 200 million Google Earth users worldwide can now literally see razed villages, casualties and squalid refugee camps in the central African nation.
London’s Telegraph says:

Human rights workers commended the project. “It cuts through all the Sudanese government’s attempts to hide what is happening in Darfur by stopping journalists from going there and expelling aid workers,” said Ishbel Matheson of the Minority Rights Group who, as a BBC reporter, was among the first to cover the crisis.
“This is very important when it comes to rallying global support. If Darfur slips off the international agenda, if there is no public pressure, then nothing will happen.”
But Google Earth has adopted a highly controversial view of the Darfur conflict. It unquestioningly labels the war a “genocide” even though a United Nations investigation ruled in 2005 that the term did not apply to the events in Darfur.

Let’s explore the so-called controversy for a minute. Google is using their technology, their money and their convictions to fight injustice in the world. How does this make me, one of their daily customers, feel? I love it. I’ve always believed that advertising is a powerful medium (mostly used for questionable means). Helping to end suffering wherever it might be found is the right thing to do. I salute Google for caring about such things, instead of concentrating exclusively on making more money.
For more information on this crisis, see



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.