“The definition of “googol” is a number, and Google lives by numbers. So how else should we look back over the year but with numerical bits?”
That’s the opening line of A year in Google blogging, then it lists the number of posts, products unveiled, acquisitions ..etc. There is one number remarkably missing: the number of comments. I wanted to ask about this in a comment, but I couldn’t. The Google Blog does not allow commenting. .
They claim they love feedback: but the only way to leave feedback is by emailing them. Hm, not much of “love” here, if you ask me.
Whatever happened to “conversation”?
I’m sorry, Google, you have Blogger, but until you open up commenting, you don’t have a Google Blog.
Update #1: Scoble is right, Matt Cutts does a better job for Google PR than this…
Update #3: The TechCrunch post drew a lot of attention to the subject, all of a sudden. Quite a few commenters don’t feel comments are necessary – and ironically they make that observation in … yes, that’s right, comments. In the meantime I re-read the Google post, and found this towards the end:
“And before long, perhaps you can begin leaving comments directly. We’re working on that.”
Hm.. that makes me feel a bit silly … am I pounding the table for something Google has already agreed to? I don’t remember having read this originally, but it could very well have been my mistake. A quick check on Google cache finds a more explicit statement:
“Meanwhile, we really appreciate your interest and feedback, now visible through “Links to this post.” We know some of you would like to offer comments directly, and we would like that too, when we can add resources to the blog crew.”
The cached version is time-stamped 5:18pm, while the current blog post has 4:23pm, so the earlier version appears to be live … go figure. In the end, it really does not matter, what’s important is that the Googlers agree to bring the conversation on.
[Update to the update: I was blind, sorry. The cached version is from the end of 2005. Thanks to Ionut for pointing this out. It's pretty sad though... if commenting was already on the agenda in Dec 2005, and it still is, it tells us just how seriously Google takes this "promise". ]
And as for the lack of resources, well, perhaps the solution isn’t formally hiring more “blogging crew”, but embracing Matt Cutts’s idea:
“- Each project at Google should monitor the blogosphere for issues. Reduce the disconnect to reduce the danger.
– Get more Googlers talking online. There will be some mistakes, but the conversations will be worth it.”
Blogging crew or not, let Googlers volunteer on the Google Blog. I’m sure we’ll have a lively conversation.
Update (7/11/07): Fred Wilson brings the subject up again:
“You can’t turn off the comments and have a truly interactive blog with a community. Comments are where it’s at in blogging. If I turned off comments, I’d quit blogging.
… A blog without comments is a one way medium. And that’s not as good as a conversation.”
I couldn’t agree more. Unfortunately we’re seeing examples of just the opposite, like Marc Andreessen whose otherwise excellent blog is now commentless, or Zooomr, who simply turned off comments to redirect the conversation to their internal groups.