Colin Delany June 21, 2007

Mr. Google Goes to Washington

In addition to launching a public policy blog, Google is also staffing up its Washington lobbying operation, according to Frank Davies at the San Jose Mercury News. The company is focusing on defending its actions in China, using the regulatory system to “encourage” rivals such as Microsoft to make changes in business practices, defending its acquisition of companies such as DoubleClick from anti-trust accusations, and working to open government information to searches.

Google’s also working directly with Congressional offices to help them use the company’s tools, a development previewed at Google VP Elliott Schrage’s presentation at this year’s Politics Online conference. And its employees are contributing strategically to candidates:

As presidential candidates make the high-visibility pilgrimage to the “Googleplex” in Mountain View, contributions from Google employees quietly help boost the campaigns of congressional candidates. Early donations are important to give “momentum” to candidates who support “an open Internet,” company lobbyist Jamie Brown explained.

With a new K Street office, new Republican lobbyists on retainer to balance the company’s traditional tilt toward Democrats, and an expanded portfolio of issues, Google’s getting into political advocacy in a big way. If you were at Politics Online or the Personal Democracy Forum conference this year, you definitely saw some of the results — Google’s brand was everywhere. One thing they’re not doing, though, as Micah Sifrey points out, is leveraging their huge customer base. But that may only be a matter of time.

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