Paid a visit to Google in London on Friday morning. Fascinating offices. Refreshments available in reception whilst you checked yourself in and then breakfast from the breakfast bar afterwards.
I was there to meet Google’s regulatory bod, Luc Delany to discuss the company’s approach to the Digital Economy Bill. Google has a fairly light approach to regulation – the company claims to spend only 10% of what Microsoft spends on lobbying.
The Government, with it’s recent embarrassments, would do well to note that in the USA organisations have to disclose how much they spend on lobbying – down to individual lunches. It would be interesting to see how this mapped out in the UK in respect of the DEB stakeholders.
Of course clause 17 (or is it 18 now?) is the one that concerns Google. That’s the one that potentially gives Peter Mandelson powers to decide which websites are acceptable and which aren’t.
There is a feeling that we have all done everything that can be done on the DEB now, aside from last minute noises. We are now just waiting for judgement day. If the DEB does go ahead in its current form I will say that there is going to be one heck of a stink during and after the election.
I have to say that visiting Google is a pleasure. We played a bit of pool, I picked up an electric guitar and had a strum and spent some time in the surround vision version of Google Earth. It has a name but I can’t remember it. You stand inside a ring of large monitors and move a joystick to guide yourself around the world. Great.
Also chilled out in a deckchair for a bit (in the atrium – under the palm tree) before we both had to move on to other meetings. Life’s a beach.
One thing I didn’t realise is that much of the development of Google mobile operating system, Android, happens right there in the London offices. It made me proud to be a Brit (don’t often say that – I’m normally proud to be Welsh).