Google supremo Eric Schmidt once tried to get a political donation he made to be removed from the internet giant’s search engine.
According to a new book, In the Plex: How Google Thinks, Works and Shapes Our Lives by technology journalist Steven Levy, Schmidt’s request was rejected as unacceptable by Sheryl Sandberg, who served as Google’s vice-president of global online sales and operations.
Schmidt openly endorsed Democratic candidate Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential election. But the outfit’s connection with democratic politics clearly went quite deep.
Larry Page and Sergey Brin were coached on how to behave during a visit to China by former US vice-president Al Gore.
The book reveals that Google was a little out of its depth behind the bamboo curtain. In 2006, Google fired its head of government relations there for giving iPods to Chinese officials and charging them to her Google expense account.
Google also reportedly refused to grant money to advertise in China and Page never visited the country after Google opened shop.
It also blocked software engineers in China from having access to its code base used to invent new products because it feared government officials might force them to reveal private information.
The book says this hands off attitude to do business in the Chinese way alienated the company from the Chinese mandarins who clearly got the pip.