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Google listens to your questions

But will it write down any answers?

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Sergei Brin may be shunning an IPO, he says, "to avoid public scrutiny", but here's a rare chance for you to ask Google the questions that really matter.

Given Google's oral culture, and its reluctance to write things down, this is a rare opportunity.

Google senior research scientist Krishna Bharat, original creator of Google News, will be taking email questions via its bi-monthly Google Friends Newsletter, we learn from the April edition, published last week. The Newsletter wants to know if you "Have a question you've been dying to ask?"

Well, as a matter of fact we do. And here they are.



1. Why does Google including advertising in its News section?

Unedited corporate and lobby group advertising is included along with News stories we pointed out recently. (How many of the 100,000 advertisers [who] can't be wrong" are News sources?) This has

dismayed many people

.



2. Pay to Play?

But since Google gives this advertising a place on the News page free of charge, does it have plans to charge the companies for the service, as in most other contexts, advertisers have to pay to see their advertising on a news channel?

3. Why does Google not publish any research?
It's generally considered to be good corporate citizenship to publish research for the wider benefit of the academic community. Profit-companies such as IBM, HP and Sun all contribute. Why not Google?

[We would all benefit: when you have open source, you can have competing open implementations, and the best implementation - the most trustworthy - would win.]

4. What's the News Policy, please?
Google News still insists it's all done "by a computer". Who programs the computer?




"We'll take a representative selection and provide Krishna's replies in the next Google Friends newsletter," promises Google.

You probably have some too, so you need to e-mail here.

Let's see what they say. ®

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