Mark Jen, the Google employee whose blog content disappeared after he made some criticisms of the company, is back up and blogging again. In a new post, he explains that he had some stuff "that's not supposed to be there" and removed the entire blog as the "quickest way for me to fix the situation."
What stuff? Doing a quick comparison using Microsoft Word between what's up now and what was there, this is what was removed from a post on this day, the removed portions shown in bold:
they started off the day with a financials presentation, which was actually quite interesting. of course, i understand that they obviously will put a positive spin on everything, but the weight of the raw numbers is undeniable. both google's profits and revenue are growing at an unprecedented rate even while they are increasing their expenditures on capital and human resources. not to mention that google has been primarily focused on the u.s. market and is now turning their full attention to the global marketplace.
so after the interesting financials, the products team gave presentations reviewing product performance in 2004. and giving sneak peeks of the products we'll unveil in 2005. if you guys thought gmail and google groups were cool, you ain't seen nothing yet!
Google is just a few days from releasing its latest financial figures, and you can imagine that the company is understandably sensitive about anything coming out from it relating to earnings -- especially after a recent knuckle-rap from the SEC relating to issues with its IPO (see SEC Will Not Pursue Case Against Google) for more.
Add to that the fact that Jen also says in his explanation, "I'm learning that google is understandably careful about disclosing sensitive information, even vague financial-related things," and it sounds like it was suggested that this type of financial disclosure could potentially harm the company, so consider carefully what you release.
Jen specifically notes that he was not told to remove anything in particular, however. And Google tells me that he was not told or forced to remove anything from his blog. In fact, plenty of the critical remarks he made about the company remains.
So -- sounds like the blog removal all revolved around those comments on financial performance, and that he did decide to remove the material in retrospect.
One other entire post is also missing, his very first one, which you can still find on Bloglines. It's about his first day on the job and has nothing really financially-related at all. My guess is that he just hasn't gotten to putting it back up.
Finally -- what about the site going missing from Google itself? Well, we actually never knew if it was in Google in the first place. It seemed likely that it was, given that Yahoo also had it -- but that wasn't a guarantee. But now it's official. Google tells me it did not remove the site from the index.