Moving on from Google


This past Monday, I left Google. There are a lot of very interesting things going on at Google right now, and I enjoyed working with many of the people there, but it was not the perfect fit for me. I’m looking forward to my next adventure.

One of those things Google is working on that I do think is particularly great is Native Client. Opening up the web so that you can readily use languages other than HTML/JS and ActionScript is a really big deal. I hope that other browser providers will also adopt Native Client – it is open source after all! The web feels like it is blossoming open with this next wave of technologies, moving past its history as a markup language wrapped around text and toward a fully interactive platform for applications.

I’m really proud of the coverage we got this past week at GDC Europe about the Chrome Web Store. The idea of running apps in a browser is still controversial to some, but using the Chrome dev channel build with apps enabled I’ve quickly gotten used to the workflow and find myself spending more and more time in the browser. I still work on the desktop for larger apps, but for those apps which have a lot of the same needs as the browser, it just makes a lot of sense to have them live there.

For game developers, I’m looking forward to the day where we see more games running in the cloud, like Farmville and World of Warcraft do now, and it is easy for developers to create clients on multiple platforms so I can bring my game with me no matter where I am. As game developers we’ve talked about the idea of making multiple-platform game access simpler for a long time – trans-platform play where the experiences may be different, as opposed to cross-platform play where the experiences are the same – and it should be easier for developers to create clients for web, mobile and desktop without needing to write them in completely different languages or using vastly different SDKs. Microsoft is closest to this with XNA and Silverlight across multiple platforms; Apple’s SDKs across iPhone, iPad and Mac OSX are pretty cleverly designed as well; and Google is approaching it with Android NDK and Chrome Native Client. The increasing use of web services can abstract away a lot of the need for platform-specific SDK features, but there’s still a lot of work to do all around. Games aren’t getting cheaper to make, that’s for sure, and it’s important that technically complex features are still easily available to independent developers working alone.

Game engines and middleware are only getting better and better, and make increasing sense to use to bridge all these gaps. But the costs can be difficult to bear for indies, and there are also the different market systems, social graphs, and platform tech requirements to deal with… it’s clear there are still a lot of problems for the game industry to solve to make things easier for small developers. Which is good, because we all don’t like being bored. 🙂 I’m going to continue studying and talking about the game technology space in this blog and occasionally on my Gamasutra expert blog, as always.

Lastly I want to apologize to those of you I haven’t kept in good touch with these past few months. A lot of people reached out to me during my time at Google, and I’ve been pretty lousy at replying back or staying in touch due to how busy I was. Sorry about that! I’ve found that increasingly my inbox overwhelms my ability to get work done, so I hope to do more tweeting and blogging in the future to help with that, a lesson I’ve learned from the very wise and public Robert Scoble.

I’m looking forward to sharing with you what I’m up to next!