[Alt: It'll be hilarious the first few times this happens.]
In any case, I've been over this all many times before. And what I've said before applies very much to this strip as well. It's an interesting idea (I don't think it's as common or widespread as some people have suggested, I'd be curious if they had some links) but the way Mr. Hat plays it is almost deliberately unfunny. Seriously, look again at the end of Mr. Hat's conversation: He's saying, "I had a cool idea but I have nothing I can do with it. So I don't know what to do."
It's true that that isn't really the punchline, but I guess I was still hoping for more from Mr. Hat. Even if he isn't as good as he used to be, "just sighing and giving up" hardly seems to be in character (though he's still more in character than Mr. Beret).
As to the actual punchline ("google is also not evil") I first found it extremely similar to this classic Onion article, then thought all about the various evil things Google has already done (think: China, Verizon Net Neutrality deal, that crazy flying colored balls homepage last week). I know that a few years ago Google was the darling of the computer nerd world, but can't we agree that they've made some decisions - inevitable, some could say, given their rate of growth - that show they aren't the perfect angels we once thought? To portray them as they are portrayed in the final two panels of this comic strikes me as hugely naive.
Oh, and count me in the camp that says that the "March 1997" reference is either trolling, noodle-incidenting, or both.