Google is one of the biggest web companies in the world, if not the biggest, but, surprisingly it's also one of the more open. It's not without its flaws
but it looks like it's trying and has certainly done a lot more than its competitors. So, its latest hire of open web advocate Chris Messina shouldn't come as much of a surprise. He will bolster Google's growing team of people pushing for open web standards or, more specifically, for an open social web. This is important because, while there's no doubt that more openness is a healthy thing, the move does seem more or less aimed at Facebook.
Messina himself announced the news on his blog, on his birthday no less. He will be joining Google starting next week and will continue with his work on various other projects while also promoting an open approach inside the company and outside of it.
He will be working alongside Joseph Smarr, the former CTO of Plaxo, who also joined Google in a similar position last month. The two are already working together on several projects and are on the board of the OpenID Foundation.
Messina is trained as a designer and had several big projects in this field in the past. Most notably, he designed the full-page ad for Firefox in the New York Times when the browser first launched. He has also worked with Mozilla on several other occasions.
Most recently, he has done some work trying to integrate social features in the browser and says his work with the Mozilla Labs team
will be coming out soon. He has also proposed the creation
of OpenID Connect, a hybrid implementation of the open log-in system based on OAuth WRAP designed to take on the likes of Facebook Connect and, to a degree, Google Connect.
"Yes friends, I’m turning 29 and I’ve decided to go work for The Man. In all actuality, I’ve been mulling over such a move for some time, considering a number of compelling opportunities for my next step. After reviewing my options — in light of the progress I’ve made so far and my familiarity and existing relationships with the new team at Google that I’ll be working with — I came to the conclusion that Google offers me the best possible opportunity to continue my work in an environment and culture that is compatible with my outlook, goals, and work habits," Messina writes on his blog