As in Google, whose hush-hush construction of a massive data center in Oregon is the subject of a front page story in Wednesday's New York Times. According to the story, local officials had to sign a confidentiality agreement under which they agreed not even to say "Google."
For one reason or another, Google has always been great at playing the press, rarely giving interviews (excluding of course, to nudie magazines) and advising company employees not to talk to reporters. I have always thought their secrecy has the effect of making them look they are hiding something. But, judging from the once-a-week fellatings Google gets from the Mercury News (here's today's article on the company's decision to purchase SGI's carcass), the policy works quite well.
Since we're on the topic, here are my two favorite exchanges with Google employees.
1) To a friend from college who was at the time working at Google
Me: I was surprised you were willing to have dinner after I told you I worked for a newspaper.
Google Employee: You're not going to fuck me over, are you?
2) To Minnie Ingersoll, unofficial community relations spokesperson for the WiFi project
Me: My name is Jon Wiener. I'm a reporter with the Mountain View Voice. We met at a City Council meeting. I'd like to interview you about (blah blah blah)...
Google Employee: You know if we got married, my name would be Minnie Wiener?