Google on Friday confirmed widespread Internet reports that it has hired Digg founder Kevin Rose and a host of his fellow employees at mobile app incubator Milk, presumably to become part of the Google+ team.
The deal, first reported by All Things Digital, ended what was reportedly a bidding war between Facebook and Google for Rose, fellow Milk co-founder Daniel Burka and several members of the company's design and product team. Google is said to have paid as much as $15 million to coerce Rose and his Milk brethren to leave their startup days behind.
On the surface, the move seems to be more of a talent poaching effort than an actual acquisition. Milk and its hallmark location-based “rate everything” app Oink have been shut down and employees who were not hired by Google have been laid off, sources close to the situation told CNN Money. The list of those not headed to Cupertino includes Milk's engineering team, so clearly Google was interested in Milk's top minds and not its product.
“I've had a chance to get to know Kevin and Daniel a bit over the years, and have been truly impressed with the quality, depth and thoughtfulness of their work,” Bradley Horowitz, vice president of product for Google+, noted in a blog post. “They're going to fit in really well here, and I'm excited to welcome them to Google.”
While Milk was his most recent stop, Rose is best known for launching Digg, a social news site that made a meteoric rise in 2006 but then soon faded after a number of acquisition attempts – including one by Google – failed.
Not surprisingly, Rose also used Google+ – rather than Facebook – to confirm his move to the corporate world, noting that he “can't wait to be a part of the amazing team that is shaping the future of the web.”
Rose didn't get much time to celebrate his financial windfall. According to a follow-up post on Google+, his new job has already started.
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