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Top Google Talent Leaving; Facebook Gains One

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November 02, 2010

Top Google Talent Leaving; Facebook Gains One

By Susan J. Campbell, TMCnet Contributing Editor

Google appears to be bleeding talent. In a recent eWeek Google (News - Alert) Watch report, it was confirmed that Omar Hamoui, former AdMob (News - Alert) founder, and Lars Rasmussen, Google Maps and Google Wave creator, have both left the company.

Plans for Hamoui have yet to be confirmed, while it seems as though Rasmussen has gone to Facebook – along with at least 20 other former Google employees who now help run Facebook (News - Alert).Google confirmed both departures in statements and praised the contributions of both Hamoui and Rasmussen. In referencing Hamoui, the company noted that his decision to leave AdMob and Google was based on personal reasons. He built a great business in a short period of time and the company wished him the best.

Google now enjoys a billion dollar business through mobile advertising, and AdMob is an important part of that success. AdMob is a proven Google asset as it churns strong revenues for developers seeking to insert ads within apps for Apple’s iPhone. The two recently launched interactive video and interstitial ads on Android (News - Alert) handsets, a key focus for Google’s mobile ad ambitions.

When commenting on Rasmussen’s departure, Google shared: "Lars made great contributions to Google in innovative products like Google Maps and Google Wave. He was also instrumental in starting engineering in the Google Sydney office. We wish him all the best."

When Rasmussen created the Google Wave and unveiled it at Google I/O in May of 2009, it received a tremendous reception. The service gained one million users within months of its beta launch and was made available to all in May of 2010. Google rapidly pulled the plug in August, deciding it wasn’t worth the time or money.

In light of this quick switch in directions, there are some who are wondering if Google is in trouble or simply not taking proper care of its talent. Considering the company’s lock on mobile ads, the clouds are definitely not gathering. What could be more troubling, however, is the role Facebook is playing in this puzzle.

If you remember, not that long ago Yahoo was a dominate player in the Internet space – the “cool” company. Google rapidly unseated Yahoo! from its throne and fully expected to never leave it. Facebook seems to be on the prowl, however, and could easily topple Google.

The problem for Google is that it is already happening, and welcoming former Google talent with open arms is not helping the situation. Key players have already defected and nearly one in five Facebook employees cites Google in their work history.

Is Google mismanaging its talent? It is quite possible the company is making bad decisions that could come back to bite in the end. We will have to wait and see, but this will be a fun one to watch.

Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for To read more of Susan’s articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Tammy Wolf

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