Matt Cutts, once Google’s head of the Web Spam team, has been on leave since 2014. What was originally intended to be a leave of several months has extended to over 2 years.
In the years that followed the original 2014 announcement, Cutts would provide updates stating he’s still a part of the Google team, despite no longer holding the position he once did. The question of what he’ll be doing next and when he’ll be coming back remained unclear until recently.
Matt Cutts will continue to be on leave from Google, announcing in June that he’ll be joining the United States Digital Service (USDS). Cutts will be working in the Pentagon with the Defense Digital Service team.
Providing little more information in his brief update, questions were still up in the air as to why Cutts left Google for the USDS after being such an integral part of the Google family for so many years. Cutts himself answered that question this week on Quora.
In his response, Cutts stated that the idea the idea of helping the government work better has been on his mind for a while — an idea which was fueled by those around him making a difference by tackling all kinds of government projects.
The combination of being an idealist, seeing his peers work on these kinds of projects, and feeling confident in his former team at Google ultimately led to Cutts’ decision to join USDS.
Here’s how Cutts explains it in his own words:
So: I’m fundamentally an idealist, and the idea of trying to help appealed to me. A bunch of people that I respect and like were also doing it. My former team at Google was doing well. And I was at a place in my life where I could spend several months in DC. The final nudge came at a conference earlier this year when I had dinner with Haley Van Dyck, an early member of the USDS. After talking to her, the question became: why wouldn’t you do this?
If you’re interested in what exactly Cutts is doing at the USDS, well you’ll be happy to know he’s been especially active on Quora lately. For more information, read his response here.