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Google Exec Joins White House

Scott Lucas | September 4, 2014 | Story Politics

Organize the world's information. Build self-driving cars. Do whatever it was that those barges were supposed to do. Working for Google sounds pretty good. So why would you want to move to the White House?

Two top Bay Area tech executives—Megan Smith, a Vice President at Google X, plus Alexander Macgillivray, Twitter's former general counsel and a former Googler himself—took a major demotion today.

Granted, they're both going to work for the White House: Smith as the Chief Technology Officer for the Obama administration and Macgillivray as her deputy.

In a statement, the President praised the new hires, saying of Smith, "Megan has spent her career leading talented teams and taking cutting-edge technology and innovation initiatives from concept to design to deployment." He neglected to add, of course, that the two have a steep task before them.

As Andrew Rasiej, founder of Personal Democracy Media told Re/Code, “The U.S. government for the most part, other than the Defense Department or NASA, is driving a 1980s Pontiac. It hasn’t been upgraded even to a 1992 Camry.” The office of the CTO doesn't carry any budgetary authority—and the administration's time in office is winding down.

Still, there are plenty of opportunities for the (now-separated) wife of tech journalist Kara Swisher, including, as the statement from the White House says, "to accelerate attainment of the benefits of advanced information and communications technologies across every sector of the economy and aspect of human well-being." (If you have any idea what that means, please let us know.)

All we can say is this: Come back to the real world soon.

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