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Yet neither Obama's anticorporate leanings nor Google's anti-"politics as usual" culture has stopped the two camps from collaborating closely. Schmidt sits on Obama's Council of Science and Technology Advisers. Google employees acted as advisers to the Obama transition team -- in one case Google executive Sonal Shah actually led a meeting, to the surprise of at least one attendee -- and a handful of ex-Googlers have joined the administration in various roles.
The most visible appointee is Google's former head of global public policy, Andrew McLaughlin, who was named deputy chief technology officer in June. McLaughlin's appointment raised eyebrows -- in his previous role McLaughlin championed Google's policy goals. Now he'll be in a position to shape policy that affects Google's rivals. White House spokesman Nick Shapiro says McLaughlin's appointment complies with the letter and spirit of the ethics standards Obama imposes on his administration.