Google Wants Your Questions for D.C. Meeting

    November 19, 2008
    Chris Crum

Google is hosting a three-part series of town hall meetings at the company’s Washington D.C. office, starting with one about economic growth and the technology infrastructure needed to "foster innovation." The meeting is aimed at helping set the technology policy agenda for the incoming Congress and Administration. Google says:

The American economy faces profound challenges. The U.S. is losing its competitive edge in science and technology, and its status as a world leader in innovation and small business entrepreneurship is at risk. Preserving our position as a leading innovator, creating jobs, and confronting our tremendous energy challenges will require investment in 21st century infrastructure, in particular three types of networks:

Open Internet: Protecting small business activity online will require preserving the Internet as an open platform.

Broadband access: Bridging the digital divide will require a sustained effort to provide all Americans with access to broadband, a challenge similar to rural electrification in the 1930s and the building of the interstate highway system in the 1950s.

Smart energy grid: Modernizing our current electrical grid will allow for more efficient use of energy, as well as large-scale integration of renewable energy sources like solar and wind.

An interesting part of these town hall meetings is that you get to ask questions. Well, there’s a chance your question will be asked anyway.

"We’re trying something new for this event," writes Dan Martin on the Google Public Policy Blog. "For the first time, we’re encouraging folks to use Google Moderator, a new application that allows audiences to submit questions and vote on the ones they’d like to hear answered. As more and more questions and votes are submitted, the cream rises to the top. So submit a question, and you just might hear it asked tomorrow morning."

If you’re not familiar with Google Moderator, it was released back in September (in beta), and it is basically a tool that helps presenters prioritize questions for Q&A sessions. It allows users to submit questions, and then others can vote on the worth of that question.

So if you have any questions for this first town-hall meeting, you better get on the ball, so people have time to vote on it. It will be interesting to see what other kinds of events Google pushes its Moderator tool with in the future.