Google X lab hires first lobbyists

Google X lab hires first lobbyists
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Google’s X lab, the company's testing ground for its most ambitious projects, is now hiring its first outside lobbyists, according to a new filing.

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The secretive unit of Alphabet, Google’s parent company, is bringing on the help of Kountoupes Denham Carr & Reid, a Washington, D.C.-based lobbying firm. The firm has represented the interests of tech companies including Intel and Oath and non-profit Mozilla.

According to the filing, the firm will help Google X lobby on “situational analysis of policies relevant to X.”

X describes itself as a “moonshot” factory where it tests some of the company's most forward-thinking ideas like Makani, a project which uses kites to capture wind energy, and Project Loon, which uses balloons to give internet access to remote areas.

The Federal Communications Commission recently granted Google special permission to try to use Loon to help restore internet access in Puerto Rico after the island’s telecommunications infrastructure was crippled by Hurricane Maria.

Alphabet’s self-driving car unit, Waymo, and its augmented reality project, Glass, were born from X. Other projects that started at X have been integrated into products and teams at Alphabet, like Google Maps and Google’s virtual reality team, Daydream.

Former X projects like Waymo have used to Google’s own extensive government affairs team to lobby for it on Capitol Hill.