MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. - Online search engine leader Google Inc. has hired a lobbyist in Washington, D.C. to influence the nation's laws governing the Internet, telecommunications and copyrights.
The Mountain View-based company announced its political push in a Thursday posting on its Web log, or "blog."
"It seems that policymaking and regulatory activity in Washington, D.C. affect Google and our users more every day," wrote Andrew McLaughlin, the company's senior policy counsel. "It's important to be involved - to participate in the policy process and contribute to the debates that inform it. So we've opened up a shop there."
Google's initial lobbying efforts will be orchestrated by Alan Davidson, a former computer scientist who has been an associate director at the Center for Democracy and Technology, a group dedicated to protecting civil liberties and human rights on the Internet.
Google's presence in the nation's capital represents another step in the 7-year-old company's evolution from quirky upstart into one of the nation's most influential businesses.
In his blog posting, McLaughlin indicated that Google will pay special attention to telecommunications and copyright laws - two areas of strategic interest to the company.
Google wants to ensure the nation's largest Internet service providers don't block access to Web sites that offer competing services, McLaughlin said.
The company also wants to build a free wireless Internet access service in San Francisco, a proposed project expected to spur opposition from established subscription-supported services.