Last week I took a tour of Google’s offices in Washington — a piece of Silicon Valley in button-down D.C. Think kid-inspired furniture in Google’s signature primary colors. A generous offering of employee comforts — a massage chair, a lactation room, and Google snacks – ubiquitous and available for the asking – like Google’s Reeses’ Pieces and Google’s Dried Mangoes. And Google’s Washington digs also have conference rooms named with a nod to the local geography – the Oval, the Situation, even the Undisclosed Location.
As you’d imagine, Google has attracted a powerhouse raft of lobbyists to compete with AT&T and Microsoft in a ramped-up rivalry for tech dollars. But increasingly Google D.C. is getting into sales, pitching its goods to federal agencies. This being Google, products are cool. One system already in use by some state homeland security departments: a souped-up version of Google Earth that allows agencies to know at a glance where all the first-responders are located. All the fire hydrants too.
Now, the General Service Administration is negotiating with Google, YouTube’s parent company, to waive federal policies on liability so federal agencies can join the video uplink generation. Call it one for the Don’t Be Evil crowd.