Happy birthday to me! I’m joining Google

Google Birthday

Yes friends, I’m turning 29 and I’ve decided to go work for The Man.


In all actuality, I’ve been mulling over such a move for some time, considering a number of compelling opportunities for my next step. After reviewing my options — in light of the progress I’ve made so far and my familiarity and existing relationships with the new team at Google that I’ll be working with — I came to the conclusion that Google offers me the best possible opportunity to continue my work in an environment and culture that is compatible with my outlook, goals, and work habits.

I was trained as a designer, but I’ve been involved with the tech scene since I arrived in Silicon Valley just over five years ago. In some ways, technology has reshaped the way I approach and solve problems — forcing me to think in terms of adoption strategies first, rather than always trying to find the simplest, cleanest design, because of the disadvantaged position I occupied as a non-coder. I can see the consequences of these effects on my approaches first to OAuth, and then to Activity Streams, as well as with OpenID, with positive and negative results. In some ways I’ve had to temper my designer training and put technology first in order to grow an audience. But now I’m ready for new challenges that will expand my ideas and tactics, force me to attack problems from new perspectives, and dip into my design thinking repertoire to operate at a whole new level.

Though I consistently aim high, I want more success in turning my ideas into tangible outcomes, and in doing so, prove the power that I see in open, interoperable standards that can make the web a richer and more intricately spun space.

In some ways, I’m still just getting started with my work.  In joining Google, I see the chance to have a greater impact than I might otherwise on my own. That said, I won’t lose track of what intrinsically motivates me — that I’ve always been about spreading the benefits of the web by creating technology that  fosters innovation and choice. And there’s where I see alignment with what I’ve been doing, and what Google needs to succeed. In fact, my new title at Google? The same one I independently gave myself a year ago: “Open Web Advocate”.

In this role, I’ll still be an active community board member of the OpenID and Open Web Foundations; I hope to help push the Activity Streams project forward with a 1.0 release of the spec soon. And I’m still hopeful about the future of my our semi-neglected and half dormant Diso Project! I’ll also soon be publishing the results of my collaboration with Mozilla Labs, which will provide some insight into what social networking in the browser might look like, and how OpenID Connect might play a role in it.

For good measure, I should also point out that my good friend and colleague Joseph Smarr also made a similar decision recently  — unbeknownst to me at the time! —  and announced that he’ll be joining Google later this month as well.

So, net-net, I’m stoked to be joining The Man Google, and very thankful to have had as much support from the many, many people with whom I’ve connected through the synapses of the social web over these past several years. This is of course a very happy birthday present for me, and I’m eagerly anticipating what’s next for the open social web in 2010…! This can all still be made better. Ready? Begin.

Feel free to leave a comment here, or get in touch via email.

Update: here’s the latest theSocialWeb.tv episode where I make my announcement:

123 thoughts on “Happy birthday to me! I’m joining Google”

  1. Congratulations Chris,

    This is a great for the open web. I have been impressed by google’s articulation of what open means this fall and agree there is alignment with the open vision.

    Google lost Kevin Marks earlier this year and it looks like they are making up for the loss by bringing in two good community leaders with you and Joseph.

    I look forward to working with you in fostering more community of end users and figuring out how all these fun technology tools can be used by “real people”. There is much to do.

    :) Kaliya

  2. Congrats, Chris! Look forward to plenty more enjoyable conversations now man to man. 😉

  3. All this time you’ve been changing the world as an outsider. Can’t imagine what’s in store once you have the institutional power of the largest, most profitable, most Influential Internet company in the universe at your back.

    Just remember what Peter Parker’s Gramps said: With great power…

    Mazel Tov and have fun storming the castle.

  4. Congrats Chris look forward to seeing you do great things. I hope Google give you the freedom to innovate along with Joseph.

  5. Happy Birthday!

    We’re terribly excited to have you join us & looking forward to making 2010 the year of the open & social web!

  6. Happy birthday and congrats for this great opportunity!

    This is a great move for the Open Web. So many things can happen in 2010.

  7. Congratulations, Chris!

    This is wonderful news. I am happy for you as well as for all of us who are passionate about the Open Web.

    Best of luck!

  8. Wow, this is huge Chris, congratulations (and happy birthday!). With you and Joseph as recent hires over there, Google are really “acquiring the Open Web” — hopefully with some muscle (financial, chronological, technological, mental, etc) behind it you guys can keep innovating and really push things forward. Excited to see where this goes, because I know you’re all very strong-willed, intelligent folks, dedicated to seeing the Open Web play out in the “right” (truly open) way. Congrats again.

  9. Sweet! Happy Birthday, man! (Also, 29?! When did *that* happen?)

    That’s one heck of a team you guys will have at GOOG. This is going to make for an exciting year for sure! Here’s hoping we can still collaborate with you inside the borg. 😉


  10. Congratulations Chris – looking forward to see what you end up doing at Google… you’re definitely in the right place to make a difference and I can associate with “I see the chance to have a greater impact than I might otherwise on my own”.

  11. This is great news. For Chris is gives him a broader canvass to paint on, for Google more horsepower in web identity and for the OpenID Foundation goodness all around. Congradulations and look forward to working with you in 2010.

  12. Congrats Chris, btw you are working for 2 MAN :) not The Man….

    By the way how did you like interviews? hahaha I find them humorous.

  13. I’m excited Chris! Looking forward to working together …

  14. Congrats chris. Keep ’em honest. Your work touches many of us in ways you will never know. Deep shalom as you continue in it.

  15. Congrats (and Happy Birthday) Chris! This is a great catch by GOOG, and I think a very good fit. Wishing you and the social team at Google all the best!

  16. Happy birthday, and congrats on the new job! Great for you, great for Google, great for us.

    Personal wish: Make a format for attention data, everything from shopping habits, browser history, via training (Nike+, RunKeeper and all those apps) to geoapps like FourSquare, Brightkite and Gowalla. I want my data – and in a nice format.

  17. Congratulations, Chris.

    Hopefully we might even bump into each other at some event or other, and I’ll get a you a birthday/ New Job beer.


  18. Congrats Google (and Chris)! Happy birthday and good luck!

    Having just read Weiner and Scoble’s notion of the Google reef, my thought was that they just aren’t doing enough to surface that reef. Bringing you on sounds like a great move in the right direction!

  19. Way to go Chris! Looking forward to working together even more!

  20. Happy Birthday and Welcome to Google!

    See you around the office.

  21. Welcome to the team Chris, we’re feeling lucky to see you join!
    As you note, for many of us you were already part of the team, as one of the most active OpenWeb advocates.
    Happy birthday to you.

  22. good on you, Chris! and good for Google for making you an offer you couldn’t refuse. Keep ’em honest and as non-evil as possible!

  23. Congratulations Chris! As you advocate for the open web, I also hope you continue to advocate the advantages of coworking and collaborative communities. Let’s plan on meeting up at SXSW so we can officially toast this next chapter in your life. Don’t be evil :)

  24. Congratulations Chris! we were born on the same day, just a few years apart!! I can’t believe I’m so old!!
    You deserve this great opportunity. Bravo

  25. Congrats Chris — Google is awesome at being open but with you there I can imagine Open Standards will get a lot more attractive, usable and cohesive.

  26. Happy Birthday Chris! I was actually viewing your fb profile and thinking if I should put wishes on your wall, but since it was empty (dumb me forgot about the time zone diff) I thought maybe you don’t like wishes on FB 😉

    Anyway. Happy bday and congratulations! I’ll make my sad emoticon just because I wished you’ll stay with us, but I’m pretty sure that you’ll have a lot of fun at Google and you’ll strengthen their moral backbone even further :)

  27. Congratulations and happy birthday! Your work is inspiring and looking forward to see more.

  28. I have to admit, I’m disappointed, and surprised no one else here voiced the same reaction. But you seem happy with this decision, so that is what matters. Congrats.

  29. Congrats Chris! Looking forward to seeing you continue to make huge contributions to the Open Web in your néw role at Google! BTW – when can we log in to Google with OpenID?

  30. Congrats Chris! Hope you continue the momentum you kicked off in Europe. It’d be great to have you out again.

  31. Chris, I do see this as a good fit.

    I would like to share with you the work i was doing on “Red Rover” just before I left LA and MySpace.

    I am now at Unity and I have a use for Red Rover as I am working on an identity solution for the Unity Developer community.

  32. Congrats, Chris! Looking forward to seeing how you use the power of Google to help us continue to build the open, distributed and decentralized Internet. Good move.

  33. Congratulations, Chris! A big WIN for both of you, I think.

  34. I’m impressed at how many people reacted to that news—and to how few pointed at “the Man”; time for celebration, indeed. It’s great news—Is Brad F. somewhere? Brad: you seem to be doing wonders.

    I remember how down you felt a year ago in Paris: 209 was sweat to you. Please, please, tell me that, will the Man behind you, DiSo will be back up… I have a paper to recycle about DiSo, and I can’t get my head around Wrap.

  35. Congratulations, Chris — We need you at Google. Many happy returns as well! 29 is a good age to be for the rest of your life.

  36. This is great news. Congrats and happy birthday Chris. I hope that with the additions of yourself and Joseph that Google is ready to really push forward on the open web. I’m also really looking forward to Activity Streams continuing march forward and the release of the 1.0 spec. I wish you the best moving forward.

  37. Echoing the bandwagon, congrats on the good news, Chris. I look forward to your progressing thoughts.

  38. Dangerous?, your talent should not become a religion, not flee from themselves. Congratulations.

  39. Congratulations, Chris — We need you at Google. Many happy returns as well! 29 is a good age to be for the rest of your life.

Comments are closed.