Google poaches encrypted social network creator

The tech giant has hired Burak Nehbit, creator of the encrypted content-sharing network Aether.


Burak Nehbit, creator of the Aether network, has accepted a position at Google.

The 23-year-old revealed the change in role on Twitter over the weekend, telling The Verge that despite the hire, work on the encrypted content-sharing network will continue. After some contract negotiation, Nehbit was able to keep Aether "out of his employment contract" with the California-based company.

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Aether is an encrypted content network touted as a "Reddit for the privacy conscious." The free application, available for Mac and Windows, allows users to login and discuss topics as well as share content in an anonymous manner. Usernames are not unique and moderation is only in place through topics and stories being voted up and down in a Reddit-style fashion. As described by the developer, messages are sent through pseudonyms that try and remove the connects and degrees of separation between users:

"Not one person using Aether have any idea about authorship of posts they transmit, because whoever he or she is receiving a message from might have created it, or might merely be transmitting somebody else's message. This is what is meant by “anonymous."

After hitting the media several months ago at launch, the app burned due to an influx of new users. However, Nehbit is currently working on a refined version -- said to be 80 percent complete -- which should fix most of the program's bugs.

The design and functionality of Aether caught the eye of both Google and Facebook, according to the publication. As a result, Nehbit was offered jobs with both tech giants. However, the programmer's future may not be related to encryption and security technology at Google, as his new role is reportedly within the YouTube user experience team, where he will be working on front end design and presentation.

Burak Nehbit is not the only talent sought and acquired by Google this month. On Monday, the tech giant confirmed the acquisition of artificial intelligence firm DeepMind , created by talented tech professionals including chess child prodigy Demis Hassabis. Reports suggested the deal -- worth an estimated $400 million -- was brought about in the name of talent acquisition, and was led by Google CEO Larry Page himself.

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