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Google Increases Federal Lobbying Efforts

The company spent almost $1 million in the second quarter to influence the government on advertising, intellectual property, and other issues.

Google continues to significantly increase its lobbying efforts, according to public disclosures posted online. The company spent $950,000 on lobbying in the second quarter, 30% more than the company spent during the same period last year, and 64% more than the company spent the entire first half of 2007.

As the company has become more and more visible, it has on one hand become a target for regulation, while on the other gaining enough prominence that it can potentially have significant effects on issues it cares about, from advertising to intellectual property reform.

In 2005, Google still had only one person working on public policy. By now, Google has so joined the game of outreach to the federal government that CEO Eric Schmidt is a member of President Obama's economic advisory board and the company makes more than a dozen posts each month to its public policy blog.

Last quarter, it focused its efforts on a number of areas, including advertising, intellectual property reform, cybersecurity, green technology, censorship, the Internet, and broadband regulation.

For example, on the topic of advertising, Google lobbied Congress and the Federal Trade Commission on regulation of online advertising, privacy and competitive issues, and the FTC's behavioral advertising principles. In the past year, Congress has held multiple hearings on the privacy implications of online advertising.

Google has also been lobbying for intellectual property form, approaching Congress and the FTC on issues like fair use and copyright issues related to a $125 million settlement with book publishers over Google Books. The Department of Justice has opened an inquiry to look at potential legal issues stemming from that settlement.

While Google spent almost a million dollars on lobbying efforts in the last three months and outspent companies like HP, Cisco, and Apple, it still lags behind some established technology companies. Including its wireless arm, Verizon spent $4.37 million in the second quarter. Meanwhile, Microsoft spent $1.89 million, Motorola $1.12 million, and Oracle $1.33 million.

InformationWeek has published an in-depth report on Google's upcoming Chrome OS. Download the report here (registration required).

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