Something interesting happened during Google's quarterly earnings report on Thursday and it had nothing to do with the cost-per-click, traffic cost or any other obscure metrics Wall Street people like to argue about.
In fact, what happened at the investor call was not intended for investors at all. The intended audience was the man in the White House, and Google did not try to be very subtle about it.
When Google boss Sundar Pichai neared completion of his prepared statements, he found that the Google parent company Alphabet "closer to home" invested. In the third quarter, he pointed out that "more than 80% of Alphabet's total capital was in the US."
"These investments in data centers, machines and offices not only enable us to provide great service to our users, they also have a strong positive impact on the communities around them, supporting thousands of jobs and countless local businesses Today, we have hired more than 9,000 new employees in the US and we continue to grow faster outside the [San Francisco] Bay Area than within the US. "
It's not the kind of detail in Google ̵
Maybe it's because US Attorney General Jeff Sessions has said he wants to investigate Internet companies for supposedly stifling conservative statements. Or maybe it's because Trump's campaign manager for 2020 has labeled Google a "threat to the republic." Or maybe because Trump himself accused Google of manipulating his search results against him (which was not the case).
Google is also on the defensive because of its decision not to pursue arms-related contracts with the US Department of Defense, a policy that other Trump boxers like Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos lunged at him as if he wanted to improve his own image with the president.
Let's say the fact that Google is investing 80% of its investment in the US is obviously a good thing. Google spent $ 5.3 billion on Cap-Ex in the third quarter, so that's real money and much of it.
But the likelihood is that money should always be spent in the US. One of Google's key line items is data centers, huge infrastructure projects that take years and years to plan.
The only thing that has changed is the sudden need for Google to vocalize its patriotic bona fides. For a company as powerful as Google, the unusual flag waving is a stunning demonstration of homage to the White House.
Yes, at the moment Google is singing some commendable achievements to the Commander-in-Chief. But there are many dangerous "Make America Great Again" policies, of which Google was a vociferous adversary, from the travel ban that targeted people from Muslim-majority countries to transgender rights.
Many vulnerable people depend on powerful units, even for profit-driven corporations, to defend their goals.
Now that Google has gotten used to kneeling and chewing, what will it say or do next time it has to settle for Trump?