Java creator Gosling leaves Google for robotics startup

Java creator James Gosling has left Google for startup Liquid Robotics after only five months on the job.
Written by Matt Weinberger, Contributor

Back in March, Google was only too pleased to announced that open source icon James Gosling, who created Java, had joined their ranks less than a year after leaving Sun. But it was to be short-lived, as Gosling announced yesterday that he's left the Googleplex to work for startup Liquid Robotics as chief software architect.

In his relevant blog entry, titled "I've moved again," Gosling says that the decision to leave Google wasn't easy:

I've surprised myself and made another career change. I had a great time at Google, met lots of interesting people, but I met some folks outside doing something completely outrageous, and after much anguish decided to leave Google.

For its part, Liquid Robotics designs autonomous vehicles - called "Wave Gliders" -  that cruise the ocean at one or two knots, trawling for data that then gets uploaded to the cloud by way of WiMAX, GSM, and satellite uplinks. Each unit can stay out for years at a time, and Gosling says one has been out on the water for 2.5 years now.

The system works, Gosling says, but it's not perfect. And that's where he comes in:

I'm their new chief software architect. I'll be involved in both the onboard software - sensing, navigation and autonomy - and in the datacenter, dealing with the in-rush of data. The current systems work well, but they have a variety of issues that I look forward to working on. This is going to be a lot of fun.

Liquid Robotics is helmed by CEO Bill Vass, a fellow Sun veteran who says in the company's official press release that the addition of Gosling to his team will help "revolutionize global oceanic knowledge on a scale and dimension unknown in history.”

The company has Wave Rider deployments already in places like Gulf of Mexico, with Liquid Robotics' research data being used by the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and various other oceanographic facilities. Back in June, Liquid Robotics closed a $22 million round of financing. In short, it sounds about as solid as a Silicon Valley startup can get.

When Gosling originally joined Google, many took it to mean that the search giant had a trump card in its ongoing Java patent battles against Oracle. But after only about five months, it looks like Gosling has left that legal minefield behind for something entirely new for him.

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