According to Google's government-filed lobbying report, the company spent $5.03 million on government lobbying last quarter, Q1 2012, a substantial increase compared to the $3.76 million it spent in lobbying the previous quarter, Q4 2011. The most recent quarter encompasses spending on government lobbying activities from Jan. 1 to March 31.
The report, which can be seen here, indicates that Google spent its money lobbying on issues related to the "regulation of online advertising" and "privacy and competition issues in online advertising." While Google is best-known for its search engine, it is also the world's largest online advertising company, and its advertising revenue makes up the overwhelming majority of its total annual revenue. In 2011, for instance, the company's advertising revenue accounted for $36.5 billion of the company's $37.9 billion overall revenue.
According to Lance Whitney of CNET, who broke the story, Google primarily spent its lobbying money on two issues: H.R. 1389 - Global Online Freedom Act of 2011 and H.Con.Res. 114. The former bill was created to prevent U.S. companies from working with governments who use the Internet for censorship and surveillance, and the latter resolution stated that the U.S. Congress should be a proponent of a global, open Internet. Additionally, Google also spent money on lobbying efforts related to SOPA and CISPA.
Google's government lobbying total for the quarter outpaced the majority of technology companies, according to Whitney. Apple only spent $500,000 on government lobbying in the same quarter, while Microsoft spent $1.72 million. Of technology companies, only AT&T outspent Google in government lobbying last quarter, spending $6.84 million.