When I retired from search journalism in June, I had no idea what I would be doing next. I just knew I was ready for a break and something different from what I had been doing for so long. That something different has arrived: I’m joining Google as of Monday.
My title is still being determined, but the position will be to serve as a sort of public liaison for search. The goal is to increase the connection between those at Google who work hard on search each day and the public that depends on Google for answers. I’ll be educating the public about how search works. I’ll be exploring and explaining issues that may arise. I’ll be looking at ways to take in feedback and work for solutions to improve search going forward.
I’ll share more about my new role with the search team in the coming weeks. It’s going to take time for me to come up-to-speed on the many ways Google already communicates with the public, deals with issues, and for me to learn more about how search works from a behind-the-scenes perspective. After that, there will be a better sense of how the new position will help contribute.
A note of disclosure. I left search journalism in June, but I still have shares in the company that I cofounded — Third Door Media — which produces a publication and conference around search marketing. I will be treating those, to the degree I deal with any search marketing publications or events, no differently than others. In addition, I’ve left my role as advisor to the company.
Of course, I wish all the best to my former colleagues and friends at Third Door Media. They’ve been doing great since I left, and I expect they’ll continue to do well. Stepping away from that family earlier this year was a tough decision, but as I said, I was ready for a change.
It was definitely a surprise when Google contacted me about taking on this new position. I’d retired from search and figured I was done in the space, at that point. My only next-step plans were to build a walking AT-AT for Comic Con (did it; it was great!),take some extended family trips and maybe start blogging about Thunderbirds (the new series is really fun).
The Thunderbirds blog will have to wait. This is a role that I feel will benefit both Google and the public. It’s a fresh, exciting challenge for me personally. More important, I hope the position will help bring greater transparency to the public about how Google Search operates and foster improvements.