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.”

(2011's 25 Geekiest 25th Anniversaries) 

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 paidcontent.org/article/419-go… 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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