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Google's OpenSocial Evangelist Leaves Google

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kevin_marks_big.jpgKevin Marks, one of the leading voices on Google-backed OpenSocial and Friend Connect, has left the Mountain View, Calif.-based search engine, he announced on his blog. With his exit, Google (s goog) might have lost one of its most visible evangelists. Kevin, who in the past worked at Technorati, is one of the smartest guys I have met, and I have often tapped into his expertise on many things social. It is not clear what Kevin’s next gig will be. On his blog he writes:

I’ll still be working on web standards through the groups above, the Open Web Foundation, the Open Rights Group, and more. Professionally, I’ll be coding, writing and speaking on the social web via several new projects.

In his exit post, Kevin didn’t really say why he was leaving the company. I wonder if it has something to do with Google’s inability to totally grok the social web. ;-) OpenSocial was launched with much fanfare but seems to be lagging behind Facebook and its Facebook Connect effort.

9 Responses to “Google's OpenSocial Evangelist Leaves Google”

  1. Too late, Thank god he left – Opensocial is such a mess. It may well be his firing. I would blame guys like him and others in OS team, to make a huge crap out of Opensocial initiative.

  2. Bah. The social web has a much lower ROI for Google. The revenue side is much higher for their targeted keyword campaigns … behavioral- and profile-based advertising sells at only a fraction of the revenue.

    And then on the cost side, the infrastructure costs for serving aggregate search content allows for all sorts of caching and optimization strategies. And yet for social media the infrastructure costs benefit from little of that leverage because of the uniqueness of the content involved.

    Lower revenues + higher costs = much less profitable business for Google to be in.

  3. Artruro Jayson

    Well, Facebook is now considered an old hand at the social networking game. Someone like Kevin Marks could try to lend a hand to other growth areas not directly connected to anything social, such as FreeBSD development, the Art of Illusion rendering/animation freeware, the Platinum Arts Sandbox gaming engine and one of the several Mini Linux distributions. Each are free, and each are experiencing massive new growth in 2009, and each could use Kevin as a figurehead or angel. He’s a veritable junior Guy Kawasaki, which is something I’ve always wanted to write.

    To a degree, Google has gotten social networking right with YouTube, but every time the Google office tries to enter its input the whole site quakes of mercenary lunacy. They need a better approach, perhaps, but it could start with a better image of how they handle their ownerships.

    • “Well, Facebook is now considered an old hand at the social networking game. Someone like Kevin Marks could try to lend a hand to other growth areas not directly connected to anything social, such as FreeBSD development, the Art of Illusion rendering/animation freeware, the Platinum Arts Sandbox gaming engine and one of the several Mini Linux distributions.”

      Er, yeah but Facebook has options that are worth $m’s (or, at least, they think so). Where as working on FreeBSD, not so much.

  4. There’s a rumor circulating he’s going moving mover to Facebook.

    I’ve also heard that a number of the ‘leading’ tech/dev players at MySpace (who didn’t face the axe because of their standing in the company) are also in transition up from LA/down from Seattle into the new FB campus.

  5. OM,

    Can you prod Kevin further on this?
    If Google bucks the social web and ALSO plans to launch Wave email collaborating tools, do they plan to charge and/or monitor people when they join up in new ways that instantly feel as natural and necessary as wearing belly buttons? The timing of his departure would suggest so and it would be really good to know, before we all get ourselves attached.