Google Launches Public Policy Blog

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Google Inc. has launched a blog focused on U.S. government legislation and regulation, one sign of the company's growing interest in Washington, D.C., affairs.

The blog is part of Google's efforts to step up its focus on the U.S. government since early 2005. Last year, it was one of the leading Web-based companies calling on Congress to pass net neutrality rules that would prohibit broadband carriers from blocking or slowing Web content offered by their competitors.

This year, Google has joined a debate on how the U.S. Federal Communications Commission should auction 60MHz of spectrum in the 700MHz band being vacated by U.S. television stations. Google has called on the FCC to open up bidding to small companies through real-time auctions and designate a chunk of the spectrum for wireless broadband services.

Google is also focused on issues such as privacy and copyright protection, said a post on the blog Monday. Google launched the blog internally two months ago but opened it to the public Monday.

Google has recently complained to the U.S. Department of Justice about what it sees as antitrust violations in Microsoft Corp.'s Vista operating system. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission in May also began investigating Google's proposed US$3.1 billion purchase of online advertising seller DoubleClick Inc.

Google now has eight senior policy and public relations employees and four support employees in Washington, compared to just one public policy staffer in early 2005.

"We're seeking to do public policy advocacy in a Googley way," Andrew McLaughlin, Google's director of public policy and government affairs, wrote on the blog. "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. With input and ideas from our users, we'll surely do a better job of fighting for our common interests.

"This blog is part of the dialogue we're hoping to foster."

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