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05/12/2004

Google launches blog

google-blogGoogle, the search engine giant many hope will usher in a dizzying new IPO era, has launched an official weblog. This is a daring stroke given the immense scrutiny the firm is operating under in the run-up to its stock market debut. But are they as "bloggy" as they claim? The jury is still out. CNet reports that Google has already begun policing previous posts -- a bit of a no-no among purists. "...Google edited itself in a Monday note about the Mountain View, Calif., company's recent expansion to Bangalore, India. In an earlier, more lighthearted version of the posting, Google said too much has been made out of U.S. companies outsourcing jobs in India. A later version of the note, posted Tuesday without identifying the changes, takes a less opinionated tone over what is a topic of heated political debate." (Hat tip to Media Guerilla for the story.)

This is a highly unorthodox move for a company headed for Wall Street. (This being the SEC-imposed "quiet period," investment bankers and PR folks are probably stocking up on Pepto-Bismol.) But then Google has never wholeheartedly embraced convention. Co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, along with CEO Eric Schmidt, have, for instance, designed an initial public offering that's accessible to all investors who want a slice of the pie -- a so-called "Dutch auction." To be sure, the media, investing public and Google's "searching classes" are going to make the blog a part of their recommended daily allowance of information.

Up to now the company hasn't been known for its transparency. The magic behind its ingenious product is one of the most closely guarded secrets in the e-industry. Starting an outward-facing blog is a new tack and it will be interesting to see how this plays out. But if Google's communications people keep rifling through posts and editing out questionable content, the blog's readership is likely to slow to a trickle. I'm a big proponent of corporate blogs (like the one you're reading), but as I've said before PR people should put in place a straightforward blog policy and try to keep their grimy paws to themselves. //Billy McCormac

May 12, 2004 in Posts in English | Permalink

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