New role for Google's Peter Barron shows search engine is 'growing up'

Google comms chief Peter Barron is moving to a new role handling relationships with organisations such as privacy groups, signalling the company is 'growing up', say insiders.

Peter Barron
Peter Barron

From 1 January 2011,former Newsnight editor Barron takes the role of director of external relations for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Barron told PRWeek: 'We're already working with the newspaper industry, broadcasters and interest groups on a wide range of projects - from free expression to education to innovation in journalism.

‘In 2011 my role will be to devote more time to this and to develop new projects and collaborations aimed at harnessing the power of the web.'

Insignia Communications director Jonathan Hemus said of the new role: ‘It’s an evolution in the approach that Google is taking to its reputation. It’s an evolution from the primary focus on promoting its services  - PR in terms of publicity – on to more of a reputation management platform.

‘It’s the adolescent company becoming a more grown up company.’

Barron will be replaced by former Times technology correspondent Mike Harvey, who started work at Google's headquarters in Mountain View, California, this week.

An industry insider added: 'The privacy issue is very important. Google handles a huge amount of data. If they’re going to do more than being a search engine, they’re going to need a better reputation for treating people’s privacy seriously.’

In addition, Daily Telegraph technology editor Claudine Beaumont is joining the London PR team, working with Google teams across Europe on a range of products.

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