Belmont Club

A new hope and a new media

The LA Times talks about something which joins your keyboard to the White House.

Its employees supported Obama, and four Googlers served on his transition team. Now the Internet giant hopes to win support for network neutrality and expanding high-speed Internet access. In October, Google was only hours from being sued by the Justice Department as a Web-search monopolist. Today, less than three years after it made its first Washington hire, the Internet giant is poised to capitalize on its backing of President Obama and pursue its agenda in the nation’s capital. …

Google says the main reason it has improved its standing in Washington is that Obama’s tech priorities mirror its own. He has endorsed network neutrality. His technology agenda also calls for expanding broadband Internet access to rural areas and appointing the first government-wide chief technology officer …

Symbolizing its new stature, the company co-hosted a glitzy Inauguration Day party here. The event was studded with celebrities, including Ben Affleck, Jessica Alba and Glenn Close. Though Obama did not make an appearance, the event drew influential political figures such as Obama transition chief John Podesta and Sens. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and John F. Kerry (D-Mass.).

“A lot of people are united to create a grass-roots service democracy, and Google is playing a bigger role in that than anyone knows,” Craigslist founder Craig Newmark said as dance music echoed through the grand Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium.

Who gets to lay down the rules for the new highway of the information age — the Internet — is sure to be at the core of Google’s interests, and those who oppose it. It’s a struggle that will involve everyone: content providers, startups, telecommunications companies, advocates of free speech, guardians against hate speech. Only the dim outlines of things are visible as yet. But watch this space.