One of the small aggregation startups that debuted in 2008, but failed to catch on with users, despite a feature-rich and clean interface, was Mergelab, forged by a host of former Jobster executives, including the company's former CTO, Phillip Bogle, and Alan Steele, the company's vice president of engineering. The story of Mergelab was incredibly brief, launching in early beta in March and closing down only two months after, in May. The site could have been a notable competitor to FriendFeed and others, but never really had a chance.
The company's co-founders have gone their separate ways since closing down Mergelab. Steele is now director of content and search at WhitePages, after brief stops at other Web companies, while Bogle spent two years at iLike as an application architect. With MySpace having acquired iLike in late 2009, it looks like it was time for Bogle to set sail to a new venue, and today he announced he will be joining Google.
His initial work at Google is a mystery, even to him, according to his blog. He will be working out of the Kirkland office, and said he wants to be working on "something that faces end users, that it should help me learn how to take advantage of Google’s infrastructure, and that it should be important to Google’s revenue." Sounds broad to me.
So count another innovative engineer in the startup space joining the big guys. It'd be wonderful to see Mergelab functionality enter Buzz, but I don't anticipate that happening given Bogle's not joining the Gmail team. Maybe they'll at least give him a call and trade ideas. I would.