Matt Cutts, a 16-year Google veteran who authored the company's SafeSearch content filter, is taking a leave from the search giant to work on the Pentagon's Defense Digital Service. The division, formed last fall, is responsible for improving the Department of Defense's ability to solve complicated IT issues and develop new technologies. Cutts, in a blog post published late last week, said he wanted to see if he could help use his expertise to improve government processes.
"Over the last couple years, I’ve seen more and more people in technology trying to make government work better. They’re idealists who are also making a large impact. These are people that I respect — some of them worked to fix HealthCare.gov, for example," Cutts wrote. "From talking to many of them, I can tell you that their energy is contagious and they’re trying to improve things in all kinds of ways." Cutts is moving to Washington, DC for the gig, and says it may last a few months. It's unclear exactly what he'll be working on at the agency.
"They’re idealists who are also making a large impact."
Cutts is the latest Google employee to transition, albeit temporarily, to a role in government. Megan Smith, the current chief technology officer for the Obama Administration, was previously the vice president of the company's experimental Google X lab and also oversaw its philanthropic Google.org initiative. And Mike Dickerson, a reliability engineer at Google, was hand-picked to help remedy the IT issues plaguing the HealthCare.gov insurance exchange, as Cutts alludes to in his blog post.