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At the Web 2.0 Expo in April, Andrew McLaughlin, director of global public policy for Google, moderated a presentation titled "Making Government 2.0 A Reality: A Citizen's Guide To Essential Reform," which dealt with how government could serve citizens better by promoting online information access.
McLaughlin will soon have a chance to help put those ideas into practice: He's leaving Google to join the Obama administration.
Citing two unnamed sources, The New York Times reported on Friday that McLaughlin will become deputy CTO, under federal CTO Aneesh Chopra.
Google confirmed McLaughlin's departure but declined to comment on his new position.
"We wish Andrew well in his new and exciting endeavor and thank him for everything he's done for Google during his time here," a Google spokesperson said via e-mail.
McLaughlin was unavailable for comment.
In 2006, McLaughlin, along with executives from Microsoft and Yahoo, urged the government to support American values overseas by treating censorship as a trade barrier. It remains to be seen whether he will be able to use his position as deputy CTO to support anti-censorship policies or technologies.
McLaughlin will find that he isn't the only ex-Google employee serving the Obama administration. Earlier this year, President Obama appointed Google business development executive Katie Jacobs Stanton to become his new director of citizen participation.
Google CEO Eric Schmidt and Microsoft chief research and strategy officer Craig Mundie also have access to the Obama administration. Both were among the 20 technology leaders appointed to the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology in April.
Google's growing clout in Washington comes at a time when the company is increasingly worried about government antitrust regulation. Christine A. Varney, the newly appointed assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's Antitrust Division, said last year that Google held a monopoly on Internet advertising.
Perhaps not coincidentally, Google plans in two weeks time to brief reporters on the company's approach to competition.
Microsoft, through a spokesperson, declined to comment on McLaughlin's appointment.
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