Google is an example of what International Relations specialists refer to as a non state actor. In its self-proclaimed mission to organize the world’s information, it has a profound influence on the practice of statecraft. The influence is not all one way, however. Google does not just influence governments, governments influence Google. How? By establishing a regulatory environment, governments in essence lay down the rules of how to operate in a marketplace. Government, or more exactly, governments in the plural, exert a powerful influence on Google’s entire global operation. Whether it recognizes it or not, Google has a foreign policy – although, ironically, executives within the company would not recognize it as such. As a corporation which operates in the private sector, Google has been identified with innovation in the field of Information Technology. In a period when the great power rivalry between the United States and China is increasing, and when the pressure to be a high tech leader on issues like the response to climate change is increasing at a faster rate still, where does Google stand? Other actors in the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors have defined interests and push governments to act in their interests. Google, however, is different. It is a relatively new entity, a new kid on the block.
|Keywords:||Geopolitical Competition, Politics of Green Technology, Masdar Initiative, Google’s Clean Tech Policy|
Professor, Head of Department, Political Studies and Social Sciences, Mount Allison University, Sackville, New Brunswick, Canada