Here are some of the the answers Ol MC and the rest of the Google gang gave on some common questions during the webmaster chat session today. I went through the top 80 or so of the 350 questions and have listed those that seemed interesting;
Q. "Since Google is against using ranking software (ie:WebCeO) to monitor SERP rankings, is there any plans on Google creating an approved, in-house rank check application that webmasters can use?"
Matt Cutts; It's something that we've talked about. My concern is that sometimes people get too worried with paying attention to their "trophy phrase" and want to rank for that even if that's not the best phrase for them, or concentrating on one phrase to the exclusion of all the other stuff they rank for isn't the best idea. I think paying attention to server logs or analytics data gets you a really nice array of keywords that are practical to work on. But this is feedback that we've heard, and personally I think it would be nice if we offered this for some reasonable size of keywords.
Q. "Of late, I have been experiencing sudden drop in rankings for my sites. One day it would be on #3 and the other day it would go back to #19 or #26. Any specific reason behind this.."
Kaspar aka Guglarz; Most likely, you have been accessing different Data Centers checking your rankings. As Google DC's are being updated continiously but not all simultaniously, slight variations in the SERP's are possible. If you still believe there was an issue with your sites rankings, I would suggest to drop the question, including the domain on the Google Webmaster Help Group: groups.google.com/group/Google_Webmaster_Help/
There is plenty of savvy webmasters eager to help, along with Google guides monitoring the community and joining the discussions occasionally :-)
Q. "Does Google plan to let us see rankings/positions of keywords in the webmaster tool?"
Susan Moskwa; We already do, for a limited number of keywords, in the "Top search queries" section of Webmaster Tools. While we generally don't comment on future features or plans, expanding this functionality is certainly an idea that's been suggested to us.
Matt Cutts; What Susan said, plus I personally think this would be cool to do.