- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Word arrives via the New York Times that Google, the “don’t be evil” search engine company that may yet take over all our computer desktops, Mac and Windows alike, is retaining high-powered lobbyists to represent its interests in this most political of towns. Tech guru Esther Dyson, most noted by some for posing shoeless in ads for a hard drive manufacturer, laments that “The kids are growing up,” referring to the young, Stanford-based founders.

Maybe it’s not a bad thing altogether. Indeed, perhaps Google has learned from the mistakes of Microsoft Corp., which was very late to the table in noticing the regulatory tentacles that reach out from this city, this despite the fact that founder and chief technical officer Bill Gates had once been a House page, and that Gates’ parents had been Democratic Party supporters.

The sad fact is that just about any tech innovation will get political, and quickly. Thus, companies — and the users they serve — are well to make sure they have a voice on the Hill. I remember a hearing, many years ago, where Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), was the lone solon at a discussion of a complex, but important, telecommunications technology. “You guys had better get a hold of this,” Sen. Inouye told the witnesses. “Because if you don’t, we’ll have to step in — and we don’t know what we’re doing!”

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