These partners may be the biggest winners of this event. Following the ICIJ/Palantir presentation, an INTERPOL representative asked how he could get information on the technology used for ICIJ's report. The answer, as I am sure he found out in the plush Four Seasons Hotel hallways between sessions, was not cheap.
Google's power to convene was also evident and, like many conferences, may have been the biggest takeaway for the rest of us. Fighting organized crime requires coordination across numerous platforms and agencies, and Google brought them to one place to trade smiles, business cards, and ideas for working together.
Most of the participants, me included, felt like we'd been invited to hang with the coolest kids on the block. So afraid of the popular kids were we, that Twitter activity around the event (#infosummit2012) was at a minimum and utterly devoid of the snarky and caustic commentary that makes covering such conferences so fun (almost to the point where we could have been our own case study in self-censorship).
But the underlying, and unspoken, question during the conference was just what is Google gaining from picking a fight with organized crime. And as it is for numerous Google initiatives (collecting information on us to hone their search engine, scanning books, etc.), the answer remains somewhat elusive.