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Google has been hosting a day-and-a-half local symposium here for local media, directory and vertical partners (and potential partners). Roughly 120 execs have come to the invite-only event — the glamour of the Google-plex campus, and excellent food and drink, making quite an impression. I spoke on a blogger panel with Perry Evans, Sebastian Provencher and Greg Sterling.

In a morning keynote, Craig Newmark from Craigslist said his 25-employee site — jokingly called the anti-Christ by founder Steven Johnson — was now in 450 cities around the world and is looking at 50 more. He noted that the most popular segments on the site are, in order, jobs, housing, stuff for sale and personals.

While the company has basically been content with the status quo, Newmark said it needs “better customer service. We need search. … We need to be able to search more than one city at a time.” He also said it is also looking into providing language support for Spanish and possibly other languages.

Newmark noted that the site started at a good time, circa 1995. If it began today, it would require lots of advertising to make headway, and consequently, VC funding. “It wouldn’t work. It would be a non-starter,” said Newmark. He also noted that he occasionally meets with Google founders Sergey and Larry. “But honestly, I can’t tell them apart.”

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