@Martin Ice Web
Nope, for 3 weeks I've tried a number of angles. I've used the product forums (I got 2 fairly vanilla replies from an engineer). I've tried tweeting / google+ / contacting people in the industry (quite high up) - nothing has worked.
It is my hope that WebmasterWorld will decide to host a weekly Question thread (with specific rules) that will allow webmasters with legitimate / well thought out questions to place them there.
WebmasterWorld of course has always said 'it's not the place to ask Google direct questions' - what i'm proposing is that at this juncture we're desperately in need of their help.
This site is respected / an authority / has championed 'causes' throughout the years and is considered to have an all-round well moderated and intelligent community.
IMHO - there's no better place. I've PM'd the mods, they were kind enough to reply - and I believe they're discussing it at the moment. Fingers crossed.
@bobsc - :) funny, so funny it hurts everywhere. *prepares to give 3 hour rant about how terrible GPF is*