While I was offline, my search mentor, Danny Sullivan announced he has accepted a job offer to work at Google. I’ll be 100% honest, I did not see that coming, in fact, I don’t think most of those who worked with him saw that coming and I don’t think Danny expected it either.
He said he will “serve as a sort of public liaison for search.” He wrote:

My title is still being determined, but the position will be to serve as a sort of public liaison for search. The goal is to increase the connection between those at Google who work hard on search each day and the public that depends on Google for answers. I’ll be educating the public about how search works. I’ll be exploring and explaining issues that may arise. I’ll be looking at ways to take in feedback and work for solutions to improve search going forward.

So it seems like a two fold position:
(1) Teach people how to use Google, somewhat like a guy named Dan Russell at Google.
(2) Bridging the gap between the webmaster community (us) and Google. Like a John Mueller, Gary Illyes and their team there.
He left the search industry just about a few months ago, only to return right back to it for the other side. Today will be his first day at Google. Which means a week of orientation and then a ton of training. He wrote:

I’ll share more about my new role with the search team in the coming weeks. It’s going to take time for me to come up-to-speed on the many ways Google already communicates with the public, deals with issues, and for me to learn more about how search works from a behind-the-scenes perspective. After that, there will be a better sense of how the new position will help contribute.

People have been asking me all weekend what my thoughts are about this. So here you go, in no specific order, without editing (of course):
I was shocked by the news
I had no idea it was coming
I’ve worked with Danny for 12 years
I have huge respect for him
He would not have taken on the role if he didn’t think he can help both Google and the search community
I wonder if he will be able to help
I suspect he will be able to help in different ways than Gary or John
I am sure at times it will be awkward for me and him
I certainly hope Google becomes more transparent
I am cautiously optimistic about this
I think that sums up my feelings overall – but I really think this is going to be a let’s wait and see thing. And there will be a lot of waiting and seeing.
A lot of people are calling this as Danny is taking on Matt Cutts role. But Matt was an engineer, Danny is not a coder. Danny, I doubt, will be making search quality decisions and decisions at launch meetings. But that being said, I found Matt Cutts, who is no longer at Google, to share some of the more revealing tweets about what to expect from this news:

A huge, great move. Google needs this public liaison role. It should help them listen better, too. Danny Sullivan is the perfect choice. https://t.co/sbeD3KkSM0
— Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) October 6, 2017

I’m super happy that @dannysullivan will help Google listen (and explain!) more. ๐Ÿ™‚
— Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) October 7, 2017

can’t wait to see how Danny can bring feedback into Google
— Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) October 7, 2017

I’m even more interested to hear Danny’s reaction after he’s been on the inside for a while ๐Ÿ™‚
— Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) October 7, 2017
Matt Cutts also wrote on Google+ that “Google needs this” and he is happy to see Danny join Google.
Some in the industry are saying Danny has sold out by going to work at Google. He has been advocating for the search industry for 20 plus years from the search community side and now to join Google, to some, feel like a back stabbing of some sorts. But like I said before, I don’t think Danny would have taken the job if it meant him stabbing the community he help found in the back. He really must feel he can help the community, above and beyond.
I do hope I get to interview Danny Sullivan one day on the stage at SMX, it should be a ton of fun:

Now I really want to interview Danny after he’s been in the role for a little while. ๐Ÿ™‚
— Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) October 9, 2017
But we will see.
A top Google search engineer is excited to have Danny at Google:

So excited that this is really happening! Welcome, @dannysullivan! https://t.co/AaLrwckEZD
— Paul Haahr (@haahr) October 7, 2017
In any event, I think bringing Danny Sullivan into this role at Google can only help our community.
Finally, people also have been asking me if I am going to Google. The answer is no. I honestly could have done that ages ago and I decided not to. I have no desire or plans on joining Google.
Forum discussion at Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Cre8asite Forums and WebmasterWorld.

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