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A company with a name like Google shouldn’t take itself so seriously.

Yet there was Google at the Ingram Micro VentureTech Network (VTN) event in early March acting like Dick Cheney. Google had information for solution providers so “sensitive” that it would only meet with solution providers behind closed doors, even though all other vendor sessions at the New Orleans event were open to everyone. Even though, according to post-session reports, the information really didn’t seem all that earth-shattering.

Still, you got the sense that if they could have pulled it off, company representatives at the event would have whisked the attendees to an undisclosed location, ask for passwords and demand blood pledges to keep the information disclosed at the session under wraps. As it was, the company posted two decidedly unintimidating sentries at the door who seemed to relish informing with a smile members of the press they weren’t welcomed.

The funny thing is that a good number of the solution providers who bothered to attend the lunchtime Google session did so more out of curiosity than serious consideration of a potential partnership with the search-engine king.

By far, most of the other VTN members present were busy choosing between the fried catfish and barbecued ribs for lunch. Many had both.

Evidently, Google had terribly “exciting” news to share with solution providers about its upcoming plans to use the channel to get its search-engine technology into businesses. I’m not sure how the new plans differ from Google’s previous lame channel efforts, but then again, I wasn’t at the session.

I understand, however, that the search technology does with your network what Apple’s Spotlight search does with your machine.

If you haven’t used Spotlight, suffice it to say that when you search for a document or file in your Mac, you barely have a chance to finish typing it before the application shows you where it is. Yes, it’s that quick.

Google, of course, has been trying to scare up business in the enterprise with its search technology for about three years, but the company has shown a lack of understanding of how the channel works. The latest evidence of this was its decision to drop per-user fees of the Postini e-mail security service to the point of chasing its channel partners to the arms of the competition for better margins.

Google acquired Postini last summer.

For a company that has to overcome the negativity in the channel associated with the Postini move, getting secretive about channel plans to the point of panic seems silly and counterproductive. A half-hour before the Google session started, company representatives sent word to event organizers not to allow press at its session.

God forbid anybody report on Google’s plans and actually draw attention to them. Marketing lesson, anyone?

One solution provider who attended the session said while Google’s technology was attractive, he had no use for it. He estimated that only about one third of the 40 or so providers at the session seemed genuinely interested.

So maybe Google will pick up a handful of partners from the VTN event. But… don’t tell anybody. It’s a secret!

Pedro Pereira is editor of eWEEK Strategic Partner and a contributing editor for The Channel Insider. He is at