Google politics shapes nations

It wasn’t long ago – a couple of years – that Google was simply a cool little search engine that could. Now, what Google does and how it does it is helping to shape the culture and economics of nations. Witness Google’s self-censorship in China (see NY Times, 4/13 Google Chief Rejects Pressuring China)  so it could play in the world’s biggest market, and the decision of France, in a fit of chest thumping nationalism, to throw 150mm euros at Quaero, a European search engine.  France pushes creation of European Google killer. So much for the global village and creating opportunity without borders through the Internet. 

“We must meet the global challenge of the American giants Google and Yahoo,” say the French.

Don’t do evil is the Google credo but one man’s evil is another man’s quarterly earnings report. As a public company Google’s goodwill rises and falls with its stock price. In other words, since it went public about 20 months ago Google has amassed a huge amount of goodwill with its stock rising from 80 to 400, enriching many investors and giving the company a market cap of $120 billion. 

That kind of penetration and capital brings clout. It also brings new challenges for communications – injecting global politics (public affairs) into PR, which will be buffeted by stock performance and and financial expectations (investor relations).  

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