After Google consolidated its model of surveillance capitalism and selling the behavioral surplus, it had to make sure there was no political force that would try to put a stop to its activities. As a result, Google decided to demonstrate that it could be useful to politicians. This happened in 2007, right when a presidential election was gearing up.
Google offered its services to the Obama campaign and managed to be extremely useful in the way the campaign was run. After the election was won, Google created “a revolving door of personnel who migrated between Google and the Obama administration during Google’s crucial growth years of 2009-16.”
This was back when Google still needed to be in the good graces of politicians because its leadership still cared about what politicians could do.
Obama “used his proximity to Schmidt [Google’s CEO] to cement his identity as the innovation candidate poised to disrupt business as usual in Washington.” After Schmidt helped Obama win, he joined the new president’s Transition Economic Advisory Board. And of course, in the 2012 election, Obama’s relationship with Google’s CEOs was so close it’s been described as a “love affair,” Zuboff reminds us.
Google’s competitors in the tech arena were terrified of Google’s iron grip on the new president and decided to act.
I’m telling you, folks, the book reads like a thriller.