We'll be trying out a mechanism for publishing comments from a special subset of readers: those people or organizations who were actual participants in the story in question. Our long-term vision is that any participant will be able to send in their comments, and we'll show them next to the articles about the story.
The subjects of the stories can send Google an e-mail with their contact information so the company can verify their identity. The comments will be published in full, without edits. This seems like a lot of work for the company, but – if the idea survives beta test -- could fundamentally change the way the PR industry engages with journalists and the public.
But we're hoping that by adding this feature, we can help enhance the news experience for readers, testing the hypothesis that -- whether they're penguin researchers or presidential candidates-- a personal view can sometimes add a whole new dimension to the story.
Although there are many questions about the feasibility of this feature -- if it takes off, it could revolutionize PR and journalism. More on this in the print edition. If you have feedback on this news, please let me know.