Schmidt is careful to draw a distinction between himself and Google though, clarifying that the company itself is neutral. Google has several pieces of litigation in progress, but Schmidt seems particularly focused on blocking tiered Internet access, which would allow ISPs to charge more money for different levels of service. Obama and Schmidt both seek net neutrality while McCain wishes to leave it to the marketplace.
McCain’s laissez faire approach makes Schmidt nervous because a tiered Internet could lead to some users missing out on access to content. Though lots of other pieces of the process are affected, the end result is that it’s possible that fewer people will access the content available online. That means Google, and content owners, miss out on advertising revenue.
Increasingly, Google is under the government’s magnifying glass:
The company’s proposed ad-sharing agreement with Yahoo Inc. triggered a Justice Department probe into whether the deal would give Google too much control over the market and lead to higher prices for online advertisers, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Some experts think that Schmidt is aiming for the Chief Technology Officer position that Obama has proposed. That would allow him a better inside perspective on how the government approaches online politics and could also allow him to influence the results.
Schmidt’s support in politics has been mixed in the past, while Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin have typically aligned with the left.
Regardless, the government could use more technology expertise at the top, as it has the potential to create better decision making. As the wild Web roars on, it will become increasingly important that government officials grasp the nuances of leaving the Web free and how best to support the fundamental pillars that have made it successful.
Laissez faire is a good approach, but sometimes that leaves the common person without representation while industry heavyweights jockey power back and forth. Let’s hope that whoever becomes president can help maintain that balance.