No more Brilliant ideas for Google.org

Google.org announced that its former chief, Dr. Larry Brilliant, is leaving the philanthropic organization to head up a new group that aims to fight global challenges like climate change, nuclear proliferation and water scarcity. Looks like the pun opportunities were just too good to last.

In the blog announcing his move, Brilliant explained that he had taken on the position at Google.org with the caveat that he would stay for three years. Now those three years are up and he's ready to move on--to a philanthropic arm just started by former eBay exec Jeff Skoll.

The Skoll Foundation has funded philanthropic projects for 10 years, most notably bankrolling Al Gore's climate change film, An Inconvenient Truth. Now Skoll is forming the Skoll Urgent Threats Fund, to combat issues most critically affecting the world today. As Skoll says in a release announcing the initiative and Brilliant's hire:

“Over the last few years, it has become increasingly apparent that humanity’s failure to address critical issues like climate change and nuclear proliferation aren’t just making these challenges more difficult; they’re putting life on the planet at risk,” said Skoll. “This new organization is designed to make serious headway on these issues by identifying and supporting the most innovative initiatives and solutions out there. I can’t think of anyone better prepared to shape and lead this effort than Larry Brilliant.”

Brilliant already stepped down last month from the day-to-day operations of Google.org, leaving the much less aptly named Megan Smith in charge. Still, Brilliant will continue to advise Google.org, and as he says in his post, the two organizations currently work together and will continue to work together:

These two organizations are neither competitors nor strangers, but rather friends and colleagues. I am not "leaving Google" so much as I'm going down the road to work with a friend and colleague and I hope that in the coming months and years we can expand that relationship even more.

So, in the end, maybe Google.org won't lose out on all the Brilliant ideas.

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