The Guardian (UK) just did the Google government affairs thing like so many US outlets. Yet, the piece provides the welcome twist of looking into what Google is facing in European policy circles and who they are getting on board to help. Excerpts after the jump....
So what about this side of the pond? Google only has one lobbyist working the Brussels beat - Patricia Moll, who used to work for the European commission - and she is based in London. Instead, the company seems to be using its corporate communications arm to build up some political nous.
Late last year Google hired Rachel Whetstone to head its European communications and public affairs team in London. A former political secretary to Michael Howard, she is also godmother to David Cameron's first child. Her partner is Steve Hilton, Cameron's head of strategy and a power behind the Tory leader. Whetstone is also a founder of the PR firm Portland, which Google uses in Europe. The head of Portland, Tim Allan, is a former deputy to Alastair Campbell and knows his way around the corridors of power as a lobbyist for BSkyB.
Joining them earlier this summer was David Collins, the former head of news and strategic planning at the Department for Education and Skills and a one-time bag-carrier and chief spokesman for Ken Jackson, leader of the AEEU, the union now called Amicus.
Others in the industry reckon it is that second force - regulators - that is most likely to cause problems for Google in the future. The European commission's moves to regulate video over the internet as part of its Television Without Frontiers agenda, is just one major obstacle but there is also growing unease that the business is just getting too large and entering too many markets.
"As Google moves far beyond search to become a global media owner, it is throwing its tendrils out into non-search related areas," says Warren Cowan, head of the London-based search marketing consultancy Greenlight. "If its business had been based more in the 'real' world rather than online, then the regulators would have eyed it up long ago."