Weekly News Roundup: Heading for Google’s Exits

Why would anyone walk
away from a company like Google
? Because it’s getting too big to be fun and
innovative. Apparently, some of Google’s
best engineers are "chafing under the growing bureaucracy" and are
leaving to start or work at smaller, nimbler companies. In the past five years, Google has grown from
5,000 to 23,000 employees. Running for the exits are low-level
engineers, product managers, and some big shots, among them a creator of
Google Maps and Google Wave. So far 142 have
migrated to Facebook, while others are starting their own businesses. 

Weekly News RoundupThose who choose to stay may find themselves working
with Groupon. Google
has made a breathtaking $5 billion-plus offer
for the social media-driven
discount aggregator.While that may seem like a price tag straight from the
insane dot-com bubble, Groupon actually has great revenues and is riding a
wave that shows no signs of abating.

General Motors says it will hire 1,000 engineers in the Detroit area to
work on battery technologies for hybrid, electric and hydrogen fuel cell
vehicles. It’s perhaps the best and most forward-looking
announcement to come out of GM since its restructuring began. Chrysler
is following suit
, planning to hire 1,000 tech workers. 

Less happy is the news that the administration will freeze
federal employee pay for two years
. Tens of thousands of technology workers
will be affected, especially those close to retirement and whose
pensions are determined by their ending pay. One other impact: Government
recruiters may have a hard time
bringing in new talent, even though at
least one survey says that government tech workers make ten percent more money
than their private sector colleagues. 

It’s interesting, then, that the latest attention-grabbing
Forbes magazine list, "Where
Americans Earn the Most,"
identifies Washington as the metro area with
the highest median family income. "In 2009 families in this region earned
a median income of $102,340, a 0.7% increase from 2008. D.C. also boasts a
better than average unemployment rate of 5.9%, far below the September’s 9.2%
national average." Rounding out the Forbes top 5: southwestern
Connecticut, San Jose, Trenton, N.J., and San Francisco. 

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