From Media Guardian
Last month Washington’s political set, always ready for a good gossip, were sent into a flurry of chattering by news that Google had registered a political action committee (PAC) with the US federal election commission.
The creation of Google NetPAC is a first step towards making corporate donations to support candidates seeking elected office. Its foundation less than two months before the mid-term congressional elections, plus the recent appointment of a clutch of Washington movers and shakers to Google’s DC office, has observers painting the company as a possible kingmaker.
This side of the Atlantic, Google’s chairman and chief executive, Eric Schmidt, has been courted by both main political parties. He lent his Google Zeitgeist conference platform in the summer to David Cameron so he could launch his “happiness” offensive. Earlier this month Schmidt met Tony Blair to discuss the internet, and the next day addressed the Conservative party conference.
Google Europe’s hiring policy for its corporate communications unit, meanwhile, also seems to have a political angle as, in the space of a few months, it has brought a former union activist together with the partner of Cameron’s chief strategy adviser.
Is the self-appointed organiser of the world’s information about to become involved in politics? Or is it just a maturing business beginning to realise that the next challenge may well come from regulators and governments?
Ricardo Reyes, Google’s senior manager of global communications and public affairs, maintains that the company will not follow party lines but will focus on specific issues that affect the internet and therefore the business.