Microsoft Recruits Top Twitter, Google Engineer For Security Role

Speaking of his new role on LinkedIn, Yonatan Zunger made it clear that his position at Google sits right at the intersection between security and privacy. This is something he feels a lot about.

Microsoft has hired Yonatan Zunger, senior-most Google engineer and 14 year veteran of the company, whose work with Google included the Google Assistant and shutdown social media network Google+.

Zunger updated his LinkedIn social media account and changed the employment status to reflect that Microsoft recruited him last month. This led to him being given the title of Corporate Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of Identity and Network Access.

Zunger, in a post on LinkedIn, said his new role “sits right at the nexus of critical infrastructure, security, and privacy.” This is a subject that he feels very passionate about.

More than 110 comments and close to 900 reactions were received for this post, which came from Envaio Media founder and CEO Luca Kastner; Stanza CEO Niall Murphy; Reef Technology’s Chief Product Officer Dylan Casey; Databricks Senior Vice President of Engineering Vinod Marur, and Siemens Digital Industries Software chief information security officer Shawn Griffin. In addition to the congratulatory comment from Microsoft CVP Igor Sakhnov.

Shona Uddin, senior program manager for Twitter; Naren Shroff, software engineer for Twitter; Bernardo Hernández, software engineering director for Twitter; Shiva Rajaraman, product head for Twitter; Stan Chudnovsky, senior product manager for Twitter and Vijaya Gadde, senior engineering manager for Twitter congratulated Zunger on their post.

Highlights of Twitter

Zunger joined Microsoft from San Francisco-based social media network, Twitter. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the company has lost more than 66% of its employees over the past month. Presently, Twitter has an approximate 7,500 employees before Tesla CEO and billionaire Elon Musk bought the company for $44 billion on Oct. 27.

According to a LinkedIn profile, Kevin Zunger joined Twitter in 2020 and held the title of distinguished engineer. The “seniormost engineer for the company”, as his job description, Zunger’s responsibility was “go talk to people and figure out what’s broken and fix it”. This involved everything from helping teams refresh their strategies to helping change the ways basic things like decision-making worked.

Daniel Zunger works as an engineer for Twitter based in Mountain View, California. He first joined the company in 2019 and currently holds the title of distinguished engineer and data protection officer. He formerly worked at Humu, a company that specializes in employee experience, for four years where he served as data protection officer.

“After 14 years at Google, I came across a problem compelling enough to make me get up and go: making work better for everyone, at scale,” Zunger wrote on LinkedIn. “We are applying the state of the art in both data and behavioral science to help companies improve retention rates and productivity for individual workers.”

Lengthy Google Tenure

Zunger worked for 14 years for Google in privacy, which ended when he was hired as a distinguished engineer.

In his former role as Google’s director of data strategy, he created “Google’s roadmap for data governance. He was in charge of everything from engineering design and building a team to building the cross-company consensus required and crafting Google’s overall privacy strategy.” He also worked on GDPR, the EU General Data Protection Regulation – which went into effect in 2018.

Zunger’s experience at Google included a year spent heading up infrastructure for the Google Assistant, Google’s digital assistant.

Covered in the New York Times, Fast Company, and The Wall Street Journal, Mark is one of the most respected and sought-after founders in the world. From 2011 to 2016 as Director of Engineering for Google Assistant, he incubated what is now the voice king of smart speakers–a 350 million unit category worldwide. Today, he’s one of two co-founders and CEO of Lyrebird.

According to LinkedIn, Zunger served as Google’s chief architect for social products from 2009 to 2013. During this time, he oversaw the design and technical architecture Google’s social products, including Google+. You can find more information on his website.

Google shut down the social media network, Google Plus, in 2019 “due to low usage and challenges involved in maintaining a successful product that meets consumers’ expectations,” according to an online post from the company at the time.

He spent three-plus years as principal engineer of Google’s planet-scale storage before leading the company’s technical design, product engineering, deployment, and operations for its first natively planet-scale storage system in 2011.

Back then, the product supported Google Cloud Storage, Gmail attachments, Google Photos and other offerings from the vendor.

Zunger worked as project manager for TeraGoogle, a search engine that could scale to 100x more documents than other search tools on the market at 20% of the cost. It served over 95% percent of the documents in Google searches for 10 years before it was replaced.

Prior to joining Google, he spent five years working in the search engine industry. During the first three years of his professional career, he worked as a senior engineer at Yahoo Labs and later went on to become head of search for Ask Jeeves.

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Zunger has also garnered a reputation as a prolific, outspoken writer on various topics. One series of his tweets on Nazism drew attention following the 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, VA. That same year, he authored an opinion article for The Independent that criticized the viral internal memo from James Damore about Google’s diversity policies.

In 2018, he wrote an article for the Washington Post opinion section about Cambridge Analytica.

Zunger has authored a variety of posts on Medium, including topics like verified social media accounts, workplace labor issues, the new presidency under Donald Trump, and coding and decision-making.

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