Google to Partners: Mums the Word

Google is holding its first user forum and speakers, including a head honcho from the New York Times, can't tell outsiders what's going on.

Search giant Google next month plans a first-ever gathering of its partners, with one eye-raising caveat: no one speaking or attending the event can talk about the goings on with outsiders, according to two sources with knowledge of the three-day affair.

A Google spokesman explained that Zeitgeist 05: The Google Partner Forum is a private affair for Googles partners and advertising customers, but did not provide additional details.

On a Web site, Google said the event will be "an inquiry into the spirit of our times."

The spokesman said the off-the-record caveat extends to people speaking at the event.

/zimages/3/28571.gifClick here to read about a worm that recently spoofed Google.

Bloggers and reporters who attend the invite-only event also cant publicize any of the goings on, according to Danny Sullivan, editor of the well-respected Search Engine Watch Web site.

The conditions for the event, to be held between Oct 25 and Oct 27, has struck some as rather odd, especially because many bloggers and prominent members of the media, including a head honcho at the New York Times, have been invited to speak.

While Zeitgeist 05 is certainly not the first event to require attendees to keep mum, it stands out nonetheless.

These events are, for the most part, designed to generate a buzz. Many corporate hosts try to ensure press coverage by coddling reporters with free entry, transportation, food, drink and products.

In a Web log posting on Friday, Search Engine Watchs Sullivan wonders just how Google will manage to keep all speeches and discussions under wraps.

Sullivan was the first to report about the upcoming event.

"This will be good to see if you can keep open discussions among 400 people, some of them bloggers, many of them press, somehow off the record," Sullivan wrote in a Web log entry posted on Friday.

/zimages/3/28571.gifCheck out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, views and analysis on enterprise search technology.