Vic Gundotra, senior vice president of engineering and head of Google+, today said he was leaving the search giant after working there for eight years — making the announcement in a Google+ post, of course.
“I have been incredibly fortunate to work with the amazing people of Google,” he wrote. “I don’t believe there is a more talented and passionate collection of people anywhere else. And I’m overwhelmed when I think about the leadership of [Google CEO Larry Page] and what he empowered me to do while at Google.”
The success (or lack thereof) of Google+ under Gundotra’s reign is hard to quantify. As a social network, Google+ is widely accepted to be a flop in comparison to networks like Twitter and Facebook, regardless of the number of active users the company touts. But as an initiative within Google — a unifying of its services where each benefits from the other, like search benefiting from data in Gmail — the company appears to have succeeded.
For his part, Page appears to think of it as a success. “You built Google+ from nothing. There are few people with the courage and ability to start something like that and I am very grateful for all your hard work and passion,” he wrote in the comments of Gundotra’s post. “I really enjoy using Google+ on a daily basis, especially the auto awesome movies which I really love sharing with my family and friends.”
At Google, playing to Page’s wants and desires is essentially required in order to get noticed and move up. Page’s “L-Team” consists of senior executives and managers focused on the initiatives he personally thinks are the most important: YouTube, Android, Chrome, Ads, and, of course, Google+. These initiatives are so important that engineers are often seen to abandon projects that Page doesn’t find interesting, even if they have a strong and avid user base.
On a slightly weirder and interesting final note: A post on secret-sharing app Secret, one of Silicon Valley’s most-hyped startups, appears to have popped up earlier this week saying, “Vic Gundotra is interviewing.”
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