It’s not much, but it’s a start. Basically, Google says you don’t necessarily have to register a country code for each country Web site (though it certainly helps). But if you can’t get a ccTLD, at least be sure to let Google know (via Webmaster Tools) how your country subdomains are organized so Google can effectively spider them.
I remain a big proponent of using ccTLDs. After all, Google is not the leading search engine in all countries, particularly China and Russia.
I’d love to see Google do more in helping Webmasters understand how to manage content across multiple country Web sites. There is great concern over hosting duplicate content (which Google penalizes) and continued questions about managing multiple languages within a specific country.
(thx to my brother for the heads up on this post)