New Google blog airs public policy plans

Barely two years ago, the search giant had a public policy team of one. Now angling for ever broader influence, it unveils a new spot for publicizing its goals and gleaning feedback.

Google early on Monday went public with a wonkier sibling to its longer-standing "official blog."

The new project, which goes by the straightforward moniker "Public Policy Blog," is slated to house entries penned by its growing global policy team about topics the company perceives as key to the Internet's future: privacy, censorship, copyright, patent law changes and Net neutrality, to name a few.

Because the blog began an internal trial run a few months ago, it's already populated with a handful of entries about the company's outlook on H-1B visas (more, please), its rationale on the need for formal Net neutrality rules, and 2008 presidential hopeful John Edwards' visit to the Googleplex last month.

The move comes amid evidence that Google is stepping up its lobbying operations over its proposed $3.1 billion acquisition of ad-tech company DoubleClick, which is currently undergoing review by federal regulators. It's also taking an active role in a number of Federal Communications Commission proceedings, including an upcoming auction of valuable wireless spectrum and an inquiry into Internet non-discrimination rules, commonly known as network neutrality.

Google's not the first major industry voice to start a policy-centric blog. Cisco launched one more than two years ago, and Verizon publishes one as well. (Interestingly, both of those companies have clashed loudly with Google on the Net neutrality front.)

In the interest of promoting "real conversation," in the words of Google public policy chief Andrew McLaughlin, the blog accepts comments.

"Yes, we're a multinational corporation that argues for our positions before officials, legislators, and opinion leaders," McLaughlin wrote in a welcome entry. "At the same time, we want our users to be part of the effort, to know what we're saying and why, and to help us refine and improve our policy positions and advocacy strategies."

 

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