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Google Turns On Charm

Wall Street, which finds Google a difficult company to figure out, shrugged off the meeting. Shares of the company barely budged, falling $5.82 to $402.98.

One area where Google is trying to change is how it deals with the public. Even fans of the top search engine have complained that it's too secretive. Google is trying to be more "transparent" about what it's doing in order to avoid "confusion in the marketplace," said Elliot Schrage, Google's vice president for global communications and public affairs.

Google even made sure to end its meeting before 5 p.m. New York time so reporters could meet deadlines. But as Schrage said, there were limits to the level of openness that Google embraced. The company, which says it's obsessed with measuring data, still doesn't like to disclose much.

Typical was the response of Alan Eustace, Google's senior vice president for engineering and research, to a question about how Google measures the quality of its search engine.

"I believe we are doing very well in our search quality and I think it's best we leave it at that," Eustace said.

Of course, press day wouldn't be complete without product announcements, including the much-rumored Google Health, a new version of Google Desktop, Google Notebook, and Google Trends, which lets people find out the popularity of search terms in given areas.

Google Health is an area on the search engine where people can find health information from various Web sites including WebMD .

Google Desktop includes Google Gadgets, which lets people access services such as Google Video, from their desktop. It's similar to the layout of an Apple computer. Users of Google Notebook will be a able to cut and paste information from Web sites onto a digital clipboard. Google Co-Op will allow people to electronically label Web sites in their area of expertise and create specialized links that people can subscribe to.
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