April 12, 2010

Google's Blogger PM Rick Klau Moves to Google Profiles

Prior to their integration with Google Buzz, individual Google Profiles have not had a high level of visibility, falling fairly low on the social ecosystem ladder when contrasted with more siloed services, including Twitter and Facebook. Yet, as Google looks to further integrate social elements into their platform, it appears that Profiles will play an ever-greater role in how both individuals and companies represent themselves online. Today, Profiles snagged a notable convert, adding Rick Klau, a product manager for Google's Blogger platform, to the team.

Klau, who joined the Blogger team in 2008 following Google's acquisition of FeedBurner the previous year, has largely been the service's public face - playing a visible role in the company's feature roll-outs around Blogger's 10th anniversary, which took place in late 2009, and more recently, tackling the challenge of migrating a large installed base of users off FTP-hosted blogs - which proved to be taxing, even for a company with the resources of Google. Klau served as one of now three Blogger product managers, accompanied by Siobhan Quinn, a 7-year Google veteran, and Chang Kim, based in Seoul, Korea, who joined the team after Google acquired his company, TNC, in September of 2008.

In a conversation I had with Rick this afternoon, day one of his time on the Profiles team, he said the move was the result of a "confluence of need and opportunity". Assuming increased importance for Profiles over time, this role may mean direct impact on a swelling number of Google users, not just those who blog, and appears to be another step in Google's march to becoming a more social company.

"With the Buzz launch, and an increased focus of getting social right, this was a huge opportunity where we weren't doing as much as we could," Rick said.

Rick said that even prior to the Buzz integration with Profiles, the product gained more prominence thanks to Google Profiles results being displayed in core Google search results. This makes the content on your own profile increasingly more important, whether Buzz succeeds or falls flat. And similar to the work on Blogger, he saw an opportunity to let users be more creative in terms of how they were represented, but in a new place.

"How you express yourself online is a lot more than just a blog," Rick said. "We want to give people an option for how they are presented in that context."

To spread more light on the transition, and what this means for Google's properties, both Blogger and Profiles, I interviewed Rick this afternoon using CinchCast. He was gracious enough to participate, and the conversation is embedded below.

You can find all my CinchCast recordings, including this one, at http://www.cinchcast.com/louisgray. Also, Rick has now posted on the news on his blog: New role - Google Profiles