Google Loses D.C. Head, Addresses Android Concerns

Plus: Google+ could open up to younger users

Google is losing the head of its D.C. office, Alan Davidson, who announced via an internal memo that he'll be leaving the company later this month. "I've decided it's the right moment for me to leave my current role at the company. Starting later this month, I will be taking a sabbatical to explore other opportunities," he wrote.

Davidson, who joined Google six and a half years ago, is departing as the company faces investigations from the FTC, which is reportedly looking into claims that Google favors its own products in search results, as well as a Senate Judiciary antitrust subcommittee, whose own probe is focusing on Google’s relationship with Android handset makers.

Meanwhile, while on a tour of South Korea, Google’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt said that company giant will continue to offer its Android software to handset manufacturers free of charge.

Google’s announcement in August that it would be acquiring Motorola Mobility Holdings for $12.5 billion led to some concern among Android handset makers who feared that the company would start favoring Motorola products. But during a news conference yesterday, Schmidt assured manufacturers that Google’s Motorola Mobility purchase would not impact Android. “We will run [Motorola] sufficiently independently so it will not violate the openness of Android,” he said.

Yesterday also brought some interesting changes to Google’s social network, Google+. Until now, the site only allowed users age 18 and older. (Teens aged 13 to 17 are permitted to have Gmail accounts.) But a new age selector feature in Google+ Pages gives admins the option of letting their content be viewed by “Users 18 and older” or “Any Google+ user,” suggesting that the site will be eventually available to younger teens. Admins can also choose to limit their content to “Users 21 and older” or mark their page “Alcohol related” in order to keep out underage users.