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Google legend joins Defense Digital Service

Matt Cutts is taking a leave of absence from his job as head of Google's web spam team to work for the Defense Department's digital SWAT team.

Cutts announced his move to the Defense Digital Service in a June 17 blog post in which he described seeing technology professionals trying to improve the way the government works.

"They're idealists who are also making a large impact," he wrote. "From talking to many of them, I can tell you that their energy is contagious and they're trying to improve things in all kinds of ways."

He has been described as the Alan Greenspan of search engine optimization because of the impact his pronouncements have had on the business of SEO.

Cutts joined Google in 2000 and has been the public face and a key engineer behind the scenes on the company's efforts to improve search quality and minimize web spam. He wrote the first version of SafeSearch, Google's parental-control filter.

The Defense Digital Service consists of about 15 entrepreneurs and technology experts who are trying to get DOD to apply a startup mentality to certain projects.

A Pentagon spokesperson confirmed Cutts' hiring and told FCW that participants are typically assigned to a team based on what issues DOD faces, though Cutts might have a specific issue he'll want to work on.

The Defense Digital Service helped carry out Hack the Pentagon, a first-of-its-kind bug bounty program in May in which vetted hackers were allowed to probe DOD websites for vulnerabilities. Hackers found about 90 vulnerabilities in the process, including the ability to manipulate website content.

The group is also focused on improving the Pentagon's widely disliked travel booking system.

Posted by Bianca Spinosa on Jun 20, 2016 at 1:00 PM


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