Over the past few years the search giant has come under the scrutiny of European regulators for everything from potential privacy violations to antitrust activity. Perhaps it's no surprise then, says the New York Times, that during the same period Google has plowed over $450 million into cultural and educational project on the continent. If you can't change the perception of regulators, than changing the perception of the public is the next best thing:
Those efforts represent a campaign of "soft lobbying" where instead of, or alongside, paying registered lobbyists to advocate its case in the corridors of power, a company looks to change the minds of the public at large. In Google's case, experts say, its push to sponsor digital skills training, museum exhibitions and other programs equates to an almost unprecedented effort by a United States tech company to change the perceptions of Europeans, many of whom still see it as an American interloper that does not play by the rules.