Google

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Google is a publicly traded company best known for the Google Internet search engine.

Google's PR

In February 2006 PR Week's UK division reported that Google "has brought in Portland PR for corporate work, Octopus Communications for B2B, and Cow PR on an unspecified consumer remit." [1]

This was part of Goole’s European expansion whilst trying to curtail growing public criticism. The search engine had been facing growing disapproval over privacy and censorship issues. PR Week stated that “It will also require sharper reactions to press criticism.” Google stopped working with Firefly Communications in November 2005. The agency was hired six months previously to aid Google's two-strong UK PR team. [2]

In September, 2006 Roll Call and other sources reported that Google has hired DCI Group, evoking this response from Talking Points Memo: "DCI, if you're not familiar with them, is an interlocking group of companies which is the phony seed bed for most noxious astroturf organizing and general bamboozlement in contemporary politics." [3]

Alternative Media Censorship

"On January 12, 2007 Google has stopped indexing Uruknet.info as a news source." [4]

"Uruknet is a not-for-profit online news outlet publishing news and analysis coming from a wide range of sources: mainstream and alternative media, analysts, academics, bloggers, independent writers, etc. Its main focus is occupied Iraq.

"Alexa, the web-ranking organization, reports that Uruknet is "the most visited site in all 'News and Media' categories" relatively to the Iraq conflict." [5]

China and internet censorship

On January 25, 2006, Google launched a search engine in China that censors material about human rights, Tibet and other issues that the regime in Beijing is opposed to. Web searches for the Falun Gong spiritual movement were removed and browsers were instead directed to articles condemning the group posted on Chinese government Web sites. Searches for subjects like the Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama, Taiwan independence, and terms such as democracy and human rights produced similar results. [6]

Google’s primary motivation for acquiescing to China’s demands appears to be enhancing its share in the world's second-largest internet market. China offers a potentially lucrative market for internet companies as it is home to an estimated 94 million web users, second in size only to the United States. [7]

Previously, the Beijing regime blocked the results of search requests that violated its regulations. The new Google site will self-censor based on Chinese law. [8]

Back in 2002, Human Rights Watch supported Google previous stance of not towing the Chinese regime to censor content. [9] However after Google decided to give in to the demands of Beijing in 2006, the search engine was criticized by the media watchdog Reporters Without Borders, which was also critical of Yahoo and MSN.com for succumbing to China’s censorship policy.[10]

The following link illustrates the example of a normal Google search compared to its Chinese version. [11]

Another instance of the obvious censorship is to search for image results for "Tiananmen," on the Chinese version. Results provide a sanitised version of photos of the Beijing square. [12] However, if you were to look at "Tiananmen," through another version you get photos of tanks taken during the crushing of student protests during the riots in 1989. [13]

Google China, is headed by Kai-Fu Lee, formerly a Microsoft executive and the founder in 1998 of Microsoft Research Asia. He became the focus of a 2005 legal dispute between Google and Microsoft, due to a one-year non-compete agreement that he signed with Microsoft in 2000 when he became its corporate vice president of interactive services. [14] [15]

Lobbying and Political Engagement

Google’s political activities are overseen by the Public Policy & Government Affairs, run by VP of Public Policy & Government Affairs Susan Molinari. State-level political activities are run by Google’s Director of State Public Policy John Burchett. The activities and contributions are also reviewed by Google’s Ethics & Compliance team, led by VP of Ethics & Compliance Andy Hinton.

Support for Conservative Groups

Google funds "politically-engaged trade associations and other tax-exempt groups" and "a number of independent third-party organizations whose federally-focused work intersects in some way with technology and Internet policy" that include:

[2]

Support for Conservative Politicians

In 2012 and 2013, Google Washington hosted fundraisers exclusively for conservative Republican U.S. Senators: John Barrasso, John Thune, Rand Paul, and James Inhofe.[3]

Google books

Concerned at the implications of Google's attempt to build an online digital library, a splinter group called the Open Content Alliance has launched a not-for-profit effort to scan the collections of major libraries and make them available online. [16] "You are talking about the fruits of our civilization and culture. You want to keep it open and certainly don't want any company to enclose it," explained Doron Weber, program director of public understanding of science and technology for the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Google's proprietary approach has been met with lawsuits from authors and publishers concerned about infringement on their copyrights, which has in turn forced the company to place restrictions on its digital-book copies to ensure that "only small excerpts from the copyrighted material appear online." [17]

Personnel

Executive Management Group

Google Management Group

Board of Directors

Information obtained from Google Corporate Information: Management

Lobbyists in Washington D.C.

Contact details

1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View, CA 94043
Telephone: +1.650.253.0000
Fax: +1.650.253.0001
Web: http://www.google.com.au/profile.html

SourceWatch resources

Website challenging Google

  • "Google Watch" - A criticism of Google; argues that Google's privacy policies are undermining the Web

External links

References

  1. Yelp Joins With Advocacy Group ALEC to Fight SLAPP Lawsuits, Daily Beast, Aug 15 2013
  2. Google U.S. Public Policy Transparency
  3. Google Net PAC, Google Washington, Political Party Time.

Articles

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