Google's mole within Twitter is ... Twitter?

You're not going to believe this one

Neal Mohan

Google reportedly has awarded a pair of executives – Neal Mohan and Sundar Pichai -- $100 million and $50 million, respectively, to keep them from leaving Google to work for Twitter. That’s according to TechCrunch, which also says that Google has been aided in this employee-retention effort by a “high level mole” within Twitter.

Some are questioning those numbers. I’m here to question the mole.

In trying to learn a little bit about this apparently indispensible pair of Googlers, I stumbled upon Mohan’s Twitter account and immediately thought to myself:  Now here’s a Twitter account that looks like a Twitter account opened by someone who had long held little interest in having a Twitter account but decided it might be a good idea because he was sniffing out a primo job opportunity at Twitter.

And, upon closer inspection, it also reveals the real “mole.”

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The account has been active only since Jan. 17. (Talk about late to the party.) Mohan has a paltry 177 followers and he has tweeted only 41 times in three months.

Let’s look at some of those 41 tweets:

Number one is innocuous puffery: “Google Issues DoubleClick AdEx Report Card, Promises Big Lift To Publishers… via @paidContent”

Number two links to video of a 2005 speech by Steve Jobs. (Covering all the bases, eh Neal?)

But the third caught my eye: “Having lunch w/ @Biz, who promises he’ll pick up the tab.”

Biz being Twitter co-founder Biz Stone and one of the 72 Twitter users Mohan is following.

We get a couple weeks of Mohan retweeting AdAge, making sure his followers hear about the “Bing cheats” story, and a profile of a fellow Googler in the Mercury News.

Then a simple: “In SF today. Cocktails with @Biz.” Twitter is headquartered in San Francisco, of course.

More tweets about Google, online advertising and such. (He retweeted a Red Cross plea to help Japan.)

Then: “Anyone up on SF real estate scene? DM me, please.”

And this: “Brass asking about this account. Maybe not a good idea to have followed @Biz. No offense, @Biz.”

More routine tweets, then: “SB, LP and ES taking me to dinner.”

Four hours later: “Wow, that was some feed. Thanks a million, guys. Or should I say millions?  :-)”

And, finally, on April 1, we see: “Sorry @Biz.”

A mole? Try newbie.

(Update: I hate doing this but have learned through experience that no matter how obvious it may seem to me and others, there will always be someone who will take as serious a post like this one, which is not. Neal Mohan indeed appears to be a relative newcomer to Twitter, but he didn't come to be a highly valued Google executive by airing company secrets - or his own - on the Internet.)

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