I've never worked at Google, so take this with a grain of salt. But my guess would be that he's there in more of a "government relations" role.
In other words, acting as an early warning system for government reactions to new technology. And he probably uses his connections with the State department to act as an interlocutor when things get really bad (i.e. encryption).
Personally, I don't see his views being representative of Google, because he clearly doesn't have any background experience with technology -- unlike the vast majority of the people there.
From his Wikipedia entry:
"Cohen received a bachelor's degree from Stanford University...majoring in history and political science and minoring in African studies."
"He subsequently earned a master's degree in International Relations from Oxford University, where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar."
Secondly, as a Canadian, I want to express my complete sympathy to our American neighbours. I can scarcely believe the motley crew of appalling "candidates" that you guys are being presented with, in this 2016 election.
However, even as you despair, remember: it could have been worse. It could have been Biden.
For much of the lead-up to his announcement, I was utterly convinced that the media cabal was going to entice him into the election. At one point, I read about him actually going to Silicon Valley (for once) to raise campaign donations...from Microsoft and Oracle (!!!). Truly, my worst nightmares were coming true.
And then, to my astonished delight, he announced that he would not be running. It really was a wonderful surprise.
Take a look at who contributed financially (double-daggered on the first page):
To ensure academic freedom and independence, both PCI and IP2, along with all work associated with them, have only been supported by unrestricted gifts. All such work, including this article, reflects the independent views of the authors as academics. Some majore donors have included Microsoft, Pfizer, and Qualcomm.
He has co-authored papers that defend Microsoft before:
The fundamental problem with online crowdfunding for politics is that politics is often regional.
That is, unlike open-source projects and non-profit groups, politicians usually have restrictions placed on international *monetary* contributions.
One of the reasons Kickstarter, Wikipedia, etc. are so successful is that *anyone* *anywhere* can contribute some money, no matter how small.
But no matter how much I respect Larry Lessig and desire to contribute, I can't, because I'm a Canadian (not US) citizen.
I'm not saying that those restrictions are wrong -- I don't know anything about campaign finance -- but I think this crucial regional limit on potential supporters needs to be recognized so that political projects are not unfairly held to the standard of other crowdfunding projects without such restrictions (e.g. Kickstarter game pitches) and then found wanting in comparison.
IANAL, but I don't understand how such changes to the legal code can go undocumented.
Imagine how much more restrictive fair use would become if the words "purposes such as" were suddenly removed:
"for purposes such as criticism, comment, [...]"
"for criticism, comment, [...]".
I realize that fair use was defined in the Copyright Act of 1976 -- not a ruling from the Supreme Court -- but my point is that even the removal of three words could have a devastating impact on rulings that have come to be relied upon.
(Please note: This is not the actual response, just my prediction.)
Thank you for signing the petition [Pardon Edward Snowden.] We appreciate your participation in the We the People platform on WhiteHouse.gov.
The We the People Terms of Participation explain that "the White House may decline to address certain procurement, law enforcement, adjudicatory, or similar matters properly within the jurisdiction of federal departments or agencies, federal courts, or state and local government." The [Justice Department/NSA/CIA] is charged with enforcing the [Espionage Act/etc.] Accordingly, the White House declines to comment on the specific case raised in this petition.