While Google may be ranked as the number one place to work in the United States, it doesn’t mean they’re perfect in all ways — in this case, ethics. Google has found themselves dealing with a pretty big ethics issue after they “borrowed” or stole part of an application from a rival company called Sohu.com and got caught.
The software in question is a tool that will predict what Chinese characters a user will need, based upon Chinese words and names that are matched with their Pinyin equivalents. I’m sure some of you are like me and don’t know what Pinyin equivalents are. According to the dictionary, it’s a system for transliterating Chinese into the Latin Alphabet. It literally means “join sounds.”
Both Google’s application, “Pinyin Input Method Editor” and Sohu’s Pinyin IME had many similarities that users noticed, which led to further investigation. Because these applications contain a dictionary with Chinese words and names, The Sohu engineers who created the application had entered their names into the dictionary to make it easier.
When the names of Sohu’s engineers also appeared in Google’s dictionary, they knew something wasn’t right. Google has since apologized and stopped using Sohu’s dictionary. Sohu is also asking for monetary compensation for this, otherwise Google will face a possible lawsuit. I don’t blame them one bit, and I hope Google doesn’t hesitate to compensate them. Apparently the Google Engineers on this project missed the lesson in school about not cheating.