social networking boss Gundotra leaving company
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[April 25, 2014]
By Alexei Oreskovic
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) — Google Inc's
head of social networking services, Vic Gundotra, is leaving the
Internet search company, he said on Thursday, three years after
overseeing the launch of the Google+ social network.
Gundotra, who has worked at Google for eight years, announced the
move in a Google+ post. He did not give a reason or say where he was
going, but related a story about a sudden death in his extended
family which made him rethink life's priorities.
"We pour our heart and soul into our work and it becomes something
we love and cherish," Gundotra wrote. "But even the challenges we
work on today will one day become "and thens" as we move on to the
Google+ marked the company's most concerted effort to catch up with
Facebook Inc in the fast-growing social networking market, but it
has struggled to match the popularity of the rival, which has 1.28
billion users. Gundotra said in October that 300 million users visit
the Google+ web page every month.
David Besbris, a vice president of engineering in the Google+
division, has been picked to replace Gundotra whose departure is
effective immediately, a source familiar with the matter said on
Thursday. The person is not authorized to speak publicly about the
matter and requested anonymity.
Gundotra's exit is the latest change to Google's senior leadership.
Last year Android operating system boss Andy Rubin stepped aside,
and in February Salar Kamangar, head of Google's YouTube video
website, was succeeded by longtime Google ad executive Susan
Google Chief Executive Larry Page commended Gundotra's efforts in
building the company's social networking service from scratch.
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"There are few people with the courage and ability to start
something like that," Page wrote in a post on his Google+ profile
page on Thursday, noting that the company would continue building
new features for Google+.
A former Microsoft Corp manager who has appeared in a Mercedes-Benz
television commercial, Gundotra was known for being an outspoken
critic of rival companies.
Google has increasingly sought to position Google+ less as a social
networking "stream" that competes head-on with Facebook, and more as
a means of establishing a unified "user identity" system to improve
Google's various Web properties. Last year, for example, Google
began requiring users of its YouTube site to sign in with their
Google+ identity before posting comments about videos.
Gundotra's departure and Besbris' new role were first reported by
the technology blog Recode on Thursday.
(Reporting by Alexei Oreskovic; editing by Jan Paschal and Richard
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