We've covered earlier about Googlers and former Googlers making big donations to Barack Obama's inauguration. Now Google's taking it up a notch, throwing its first ever party for a US president's inauguration, in conjunction with its YouTube video site and the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights.
It's not a ball. In fact, the invitation specifically avoids calling it that, saying:
Join Google/YouTube and the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights to honor the incoming Obama Administration, welcome a new era of open government, and take a break from traditional Inaugural balls.
So if it's not a ball, what exactly is it? Adam Kovacevich, who heads public relations out of Google's Washington DC office, told me:
I would characterize the event as an "alternative to traditional balls" -- it's not black tie, for example, and will have more of a lounge-like atmosphere.
And can we expect newly sworn-in President Obama to lounge by?
I don't expect that Obama will make it to this party - he's got enough of the "official" events to hit.
Indeed, Obama has one of 10 official inaugural balls to attend that evening. So who will be there? Who has been invited? How many will attend? Will there be Google execs meeting and greeting?
I don't have a final number of people invited because the invitation process is ongoing. And it's pretty much impossible to say who's showing up until that night -- we just don't know for sure. I am pretty confident that a handful of Google execs will be at our party, although it's still too early to give you a precise lineup.
And why do the event at all?
We've done a lot over the past two years to help Google users get involved in the election, from the YouTube debates to polling place data in Google searches, and we felt that an inaugural event would be a fitting culmination of our election projects.
As said earlier, this is a first for Google. Why didn't they do something similar in 2004? Google didn't even have a Washington DC office then, Kovacevich noted. That didn't happen until 2005.