When Google put their faith in Wave, an ambitious new project last year, they knew it was a gamble. But a big part of it was the team behind the project. A team led by Lars Rasmussen, the engineer best known as the co-creator of the hugely successful Google Maps. And now he’s left the company. And from what we hear, he’s heading to Facebook. (Update below — he is.)
Rasmussen confirmed his departure on his Facebook page. Yesterday was his last day of work at Google. He didn’t give any indication where he’ll be heading next, other than he’d be “a whole big ocean closer” (he was living in Australia where the Wave team was based). But the fact that he put all this info on Facebook is telling. From what we’re hearing, he will be joining Facebook.
Neither Facebook nor Google has returned our request for comment yet.
This is a huge loss for Google and a huge gain for Facebook. But it’s hardly surprising that Rasmussen is leaving Google given that the search giant killed his ambitious Wave project barely a year after it was first unveiled.
We’ll be very interested to hear what he’s working on at the social network. No word yet on what his brother Jens, who also helped co-create both Maps and Wave, will be joining him there.
Update from Facebook:
As matter of policy, we do not comment on potential employees until they start.
In other words, when he gets back from his vacation in between jobs, they’ll confirm.
It’s also worth noting as well that current Facebook CTO Bret Taylor was heavily involved in the launch of Google Maps.
Update 10/31: Facebook has now confirmed the Rasmussen hiring with the following statement:
It’s true that Lars Rasumussen has joined Facebook. Lars has a knack for building elegant, powerful products that people love. We’re thrilled he’ll be part of Facebook’s world-class engineering team to help design transformative technologies that will improve how people connect and interact online.
Google provides search and advertising services, which together aim to organize and monetize the world’s information. In addition to its dominant search engine, it offers a plethora of online tools and platforms including: Gmail, Maps, YouTube, and Google+, the company’s extension into the social space. Most of its Web-based products are free, funded by Google’s highly integrated online advertising platforms AdWords and AdSense. Google promotes the idea that advertising should be highly targeted and relevant to users thus providing...
Facebook is the world’s largest social network, with over 1 billion monthly active users. Facebook was founded by Mark Zuckerberg in February 2004, initially as an exclusive network for Harvard students. It was a huge hit: in 2 weeks, half of the schools in the Boston area began demanding a Facebook network. Zuckerberg immediately recruited his friends Dustin Moskovitz, Chris Hughes, and Eduardo Saverin to help build Facebook, and within four months, Facebook added 30 more college networks. The original...
Lars Rasmussen is an engineer at Facebook. Formerly, he was a member of Google’s technical staff, based in the Sydney office, and with his brother Jens is co-founder of the Google Wave effort. In early 2003, the brothers co-founded a mapping start-up, Where 2 Technologies, which was acquired by Google in October of 2004. Lars joined Google and worked as one of the lead engineers in the team that turned this acquisition into Google Maps, now used by millions...