Google, last month, started accepting and publishing comments related to some stories it linked to. The system is very limited and experimental, you have to email Google with your comment and then a human decides whether it can be listed along with links to the relevant story.
You also have to be some way involved in the story for them to publish the comment. Cue reams and reams of rhetorical PR as comment, you’d think? In part, you’d be right. But the more startling thing is how very few comments have so far been posted.
So far only around 108 comments have been made in the month since Google launched the service (thanks to Steve Rubel for pointing this out, he also notes it’s possible to get a feed of the comments on Google News) even if it is a limited experiment I’d expect a few more than that, and I’d expect them to be more informed and move the story on more than the random sample I looked at.
Wonder what would happen if they let the audience in?