The blogoshere knew Google was in Obama's pocket and now Google is in Washington ready to collect. The LA Times has the story -
Google ready to pursue its agenda in WashingtonAnd the Liberals thought George Bush's surveillance was outrageous, just think what Google can do with the Obama government backing them.
Its employees supported Obama, and four Googlers served on his transition team. Now the Internet giant hopes to win support for network neutrality and expanding high-speed Internet access.
By Jim Puzzanghera and Jessica Guynn
January 24, 2009
Reporting from Washington -- Another inauguration took place in Washington this week -- Google Inc. officially became a political power player.
In October, Google was only hours from being sued by the Justice Department as a Web-search monopolist. Today, less than three years after it made its first Washington hire, the Internet giant is poised to capitalize on its backing of President Obama and pursue its agenda in the nation's capital.
Google's executives and employees overwhelmingly supported Obama's candidacy, contributing more money than all but three companies or universities. And only DreamWorks employees gave more toward inauguration festivities.
Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt campaigned for Obama and was one of four Googlers on his transition team. He is now as likely as any corporate chieftain to get his calls to the White House returned.
At the top of the company's policy priorities are two that consumer advocates largely champion. First, it wants to expand high-speed Internet access so people can use its Web services more often. It also is pushing for so-called network neutrality: prohibitions on telecommunications companies charging websites for faster delivery of their content.
"Google is not just a benign corporate entity. It has a variety of special interests," said Jeff Chester, the executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy, who has sparred with Google over data-privacy issues. "They're in a great position to push their agenda through with the support of the president and the Democrats in Congress."
But Google's newfound political ties heighten concerns about its grip on the online advertising market. The company could play better defense against strong competitors trying to curb its influence.
Last fall, Justice Department lawyers, who had been lobbied heavily by Microsoft Corp. and large telecommunications companies, were about to sue Google on antitrust grounds. They wanted to block its controversial search-advertising partnership with Yahoo Inc., but Google abandoned the deal rather than fight in court.
Competitors worry about Google's close relationship with the Obama administration, said Bill Whalen, a research fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution.
"The question going forward is: Will Google turn into just another business entity looking for favors in Washington, or will it manage to keep the 767 flying at 30,000 feet above the political din?" he said, a reference to the Google founders' private plane.
White House officials did not respond to requests for comment. Obama vowed generally this week that his administration would not be beholden to anyone.
Google says the main reason it has improved its standing in Washington is that Obama's tech priorities mirror its own. He has endorsed network neutrality. His technology agenda also calls for expanding broadband Internet access to rural areas and appointing the first government-wide chief technology officer (Schmidt has been mentioned for the position but reiterated this week that he was not interested).
"This administration is more focused on science and technology," Schmidt said in an interview. "That's positive for all of technology, and particularly Google."
Other companies also supported Obama with big time contributions, according to LA Times reporters.
Companies for ObamaOdd that some of these companies no longer exist.
Which firms' employees gave the most to the presidential campaign?
January 24, 2009
Donations to Obama
Companies or organizations whose employees gave the most to the Obama presidential campaign.
University of California $1.12 million
Goldman Sachs $955,223
Microsoft Corp. $791,342
Google Inc. $782,964
Harvard University $779,460
J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. $642,958
Citigroup Inc. $633,418
Sidley Austin LLP $565,788
Stanford University $558,184
Time Warner Inc. $542,651
Source: The Center for Responsive Politics
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