Eight years ago, Google was on top of the world. People across the political spectrum saw the search giant as a symbol of high-tech innovation. During the just-completed 2008 presidential campaign cycle, candidates as diverse as Ron Paul, John McCain, and Barack Obama had all made pilgrimages to Google’s Mountain View headquarters to burnish their reputations for tech savvy.
Even better, Google soon had a close relationship to the newly elected president, Barack Obama. “Google was riding high on the fact that Eric Schmidt was campaigning for Obama,” said Siva Vaidhyanathan, a media studies professor at the University of Virginia and a longtime Google critic. “There was a lot of attention paid in the press to the fact that Googlers were starting to work in the White House.”
With so many Googlers in government, Google had an outsized influence on policymaking during the Obama years. But today, Google is in a different situation. Most obviously, Schmidt worked hard to get Hillary Clinton elected president, and Clinton lost.