Google’s Influence In The Oval Office

Google’s Clout Grows as Tech Initiatives Take Shape from the Wall Street Journal outlines Google CEO Eric Schmidt’s recent technology meeting with Obama and the new US government. If you missed the news, a group of executives met with President Obama last week to discuss technology’s role in the US stimulus plan. One of those executives was Schmidt, who sat right next to Obama at the meeting.

We are all aware that Google was very politically and financially supportive of Obama during the elections. In fact, the Wall Street Journal reports that Google was the “fourth-largest corporate source of campaign cash” for Obama’s presidential race. Why is this important for Google? Because the government can issue policy that can either help Google or hurt Google.

From making it easier for more people to use the Internet to making deals like the Yahoo/Google ad deal easier to get passed to incentives on renewable energy that would lower Google’s data center costs – all these policies can either help Google or hurt Google.

Some are concerned over what appears to be Google’s tight relationship with President Obama. Jeff Chester, founder of the Center for Digital Democracy, a consumer-privacy advocacy group, said:

Given the relationship of Schmidt to the campaign, I think there’s a real concern there’s a kind of open office, revolving door between Google and their goals and the Obama administration.

Even Schmidt admitted that “There is no question technology has more influence with this president,” adding that President Obama has “a personal interest” in technology. But when asked about Google’s influence with the new administration, Schmidt said, “I think our influence is moderate, not tremendous.” In fact, Schmidt turned down the CTO position offered by Obama months ago.


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