Google in triple hire to stem media backlash

Internet search engine Google has beefed up its UK agency support as it ploughs ahead with European expansion and tries to arrest growing public criticism.

It has brought in Portland PR for corporate work, Octopus Communications for B2B, and Cow PR on an unspecified consumer remit.

Google – facing flak over privacy and censorship issues – is thought to have approached further agencies about potential projects.

As Google expands rapidly, the pressure for a more strategic approach to communications has intensified. It will also require sharper reactions to press criticism.

The move comes less then three months into Rachel Whetstone's reign as director of Euro comms and PA.

Tim Allan, founder of Portland – where Whetstone once worked as a director – would only confirm that it was working for Google.
Its brief is believed to involve the dispute with publishers over the scanning of copyrighted books.

Octopus has been asked to promote 'enterprise products' to businesses.

Google ceased to work with Firefly Communications in November. The agency was hired six months previously to aid Google's two-strong UK PR team.

The search engine continues to recruit PR staff to cover Continental Europe, though some will be based in the UK(PRWeek, 9 December 2005).

Google confirmed it had briefed the agencies on projects, but declined to comment further.

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