Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Another Googler Joins the Obama Administration–Now We've Got a Foursome!

Please see this disclosure related to me and Google.

It will be like they never left the Googleplex in Silicon Valley if this Washington, D.C., invasion of execs from the search giant keeps up.

The fourth new geek in town is Sumit Agarwal (pictured here), who was head of Google’s mobile product management and has become the deputy assistant secretary of defense for outreach and social media in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense.

Phew! But what’s that? Poking with M-16s? The Berlin Wall? Tweeting troop movements?

In any case, it’s interesting to see so many key appointments in the tech arena going to one company, especially one so immersed now in national and international policy issues.

And especially since Google (GOOG) has begun spending so much money in D.C. on lobbying.

As I reported recently:

According to the most recent public reports filed by Google with the Senate on its lobbying spending there, the search giant has significantly increased its outlay in 2009 from the previous two years.

In 2007, Google spent a total of $1.52 million, which rose to $2.84 million in 2008.

And the 2009 total? Just over $4 million, according to the Lobbying Disclosure Act Database.

That’s probably no surprise given the ever-growing range of issues of concern to U.S. regulators due to Google’s increasing number of deals and because of many new and often controversial initiatives the company is forging forward with.

From pushing for approval of its DoubleClick acquisition in 2007 to its failed attempt to strike a search and online partnership with Yahoo (YHOO) in 2008 to last year’s wrangling with book publishers to 2010’s expected tussle over its $750 million purchase of mobile advertising start-up AdMob, Google’s presence in D.C. is only going to rise as its ambitions expand.

That’s still $2.7 million less than archrival Microsoft (MSFT) spent in 2009, but Google has been gaining on the software giant in a very short time.

In any case, these are former Googlers, who might or might not return to the mother ship at the end of their tenure.

But, for those keeping track, Agarwal will join:

* Former business development and product exec Katie Jacobs Stanton, who was the Obama administration’s director of citizen participation and now works in the State Department.

* Google’s top policy wonk, Andrew McLaughlin, who serves as deputy chief technology officer.

* And Sonal Shah, who worked at Google.org and is now director of the White House’s new Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation.


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There was a worry before I started this that I was going to burn every bridge I had. But I realize now that there are some bridges that are worth burning.

— Valleywag editor Sam Biddle