This is a follow-up to my previous post.
I think a lot of us at the bigger software companies are here for more or less the same reason: the opportunity to impact hundreds of thousands, if not millions, if not tens of millions (and more) users. It feels great to feel like your work matters - and to be recognized for that.
Heck, for that matter, I think many folks at smaller tech companies feel the same way (though there, its often more about potential than realization).
That impact might even be life changing; or inspirational; or there might be unintended happy consequences: you connect people, enable them, and/or empower life defining moments. At enough scale, you can start do all of those things, and it can be rewarding.
But there's a big difference between doing good, either as a side effect or with ancillary (financial or corporate) benefits, and intending to do good, for its own sake. There's a difference of will that I think is morally significant.
So in that spirit, I have to say: I'm proud to be a part of an industry that is starting to actively accept the social authority and responsibility that comes with great power: to intend good. I try in little ways - and we do a LOT of community and charity outreach at AOL, but I am humbled by the ambition of vision I see and the opportunity for impact it implies.
(BTW, if you don't know the man they appointed to run google.org, Larry Brilliant- I didn't - pretty seriously cool.)