Google chairman: We're not going to touch Trump vs. Clinton

Google has been accused of showing bias to the Democrats in the past, but the company is determined to remain non-partisan -- at least publicly.

Katie Collins
Katie Collins Senior European Correspondent
Katie a UK-based news reporter and features writer. Officially, she is CNET's European correspondent, covering tech policy and Big Tech in the EU and UK. Unofficially, she serves as CNET's Taylor Swift correspondent. You can also find her writing about tech for good, ethics and human rights, the climate crisis, robots, travel and digital culture. She was once described a "living synth" by London's Evening Standard for having a microchip injected into her hand.
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Eric Schmidt: Google will keep supporting gay rights.


No matter which candidate gets your vote in the upcoming presidential election, the world's most valuable tech company will not be standing behind you.

Google will not lend its support to either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, according to company's executive chairman Eric Schmidt. "We have not taken a position on the American election and nor do I expect us to," said the longtime Googler, speaking at Startup Grind in London on Wednesday.

Google might be how much of the world gets its information about politics these days, but it is not immune to accusations of political bias. Schmidt has previously been described as a "kind of guru" to President Barack Obama's campaign manager, and Google employees were found to be the No. 2 donor to the Democratic National Committee at the last election. But Google has been careful to ensure the company itself does not openly affiliate itself with one political party.

Trump is proving to be an incredibly divisive Republican candidate, to the extent that Buzzfeed turned away a $1.3 million advertising deal with the Republican National Convention. If Google was going to publicly align itself to the Democrats, or distance itself from the Republicans, now would probably be the moment.

Thanks to Schmidt's declaration, we know it won't, but that doesn't mean that Clinton won't receive similar support as her predecessors from Google employees on an individual basis.

"We always had policy that the company does not have a policy in these areas," said Schmidt, alluding to Google's public-facing political non-partisanism. Individual employees, though, are free to take whatever political stance they so wish. Googlers are on the whole, Schmidt conceded, are a liberal bunch -- something he sees as being reflective of the political outlook of the San Francisco Bay Area in California, where the company is based.

But there always have, and will in the future, be exceptions to the rule. Schmidt points to one particular case where the company did take a public stance on a political issue. "It had to with the treatment of gay people in California," he said. "We were actually so upset about proposals to restrict gay rights that the company took a position on that."

Elections will probably always be a no-go, but Google will continue to stand up and be counted on certain issues. "I can say with certainty we're going to take a position on equality, diversity, equal treatment of people, fairness, gay rights," said Schmidt. "On other matters the company will probably not take a position."