The Google Transparency Project has documented how the company has become one of the biggest spenders on government lobbyists in the US. It has also shown how in the US, UK and Europe there has been an open door between government and senior positions at Google – the GTP found 251 instances of staff moving between the two in the US and 80 in Europe.
That is how power works. This is how power works too: the last time I wrote a story that Google didn’t like, I got a call from Peter Barron, Google’s UK head of press, who was at pains to point out the positive and beneficial relationship that Google has with the Guardian Media Group, our owners.
Google’s business model is built around the idea that it’s a neutral platform. That its magic algorithm waves its magic wand and delivers magic results without the sullying intervention of any human. It desperately does not want to be seen as a media company, as a content provider, as a news and information medium that should be governed by the same rules that apply to other media.