A variety of news outlets are reporting the departure of Mark Jen from Google. Jen, previously a member of the Adsense team, left Google earlier this month; a Spokesperson for the company confirmed the tale telling C|net News that "Mark is no longer an employee at Google".
His departure relates to one of the nine posts made on his blog, about Google's benefits and finances. Widely perceived as one of the best places to work in the world, Jen described Google's benefits as "thinly veiled timesavers to keep you at work" and suggested that "Microsoft's health care benefits shame Google's relatively meager offering". He later removed the content, adding that he "goofed and put some stuff up on my blog that's not supposed to be there. nothing serious and they didn't ask me to take anything down (even the stuff where i'm critical about the company)". For the full content of his now edited blog, see here.
What's sparked such online interest is the idea the online angel Google has fired a blogger; this is, after much speculation, now certain. Unfortunately for him, he is now one of a handful of bloggers who have experienced the effects of being too honest about a company. Unsurprisingly, IT firms are more than happy for employees to rave on blogs about their products and how great a place it is to work, yet less amused to find them talking about company benefits or finances. One can't but wonder how happy Microsoft would be if blogger-in-chief Robert Scoble were to talk about the company in a distinctly negative light.
Yet, this incident aside, the bottom line remains: although bad news for the company, one must judge Google not by their PR machine or their individual employees, but by their products. Google is still number one in the market, and continues to launch new and innovative products. This is probably Google's first PR 'incident', and it's really no surprise the competition is latching on to it. Bloggers need to remember that content posted online is just that - public domain, and content has consequences as this site has learnt on many occasions. Google has yet to comment publicly on the issue.