Disgruntled Dodgeball founders leave Google

The founders of Dodgeball, a mobile social networking company acquired by Google in 2005, have quit to pursue other opportunities

The founders of Dodgeball, the mobile social networking service that Google bought in 2005, quit working for the search giant on Friday.

In a post on photo-sharing site Flickr, Dennis Crowley wrote that he and Alex Rainert decided to leave the company because Google wasn't supporting the project in the way they had expected. "The whole experience was incredibly frustrating for us -- especially as we couldn't convince them that dodgeball was worth engineering resources, leaving us to watch as other startups got to innovate in the mobile + social space," he wrote.

When Google bought Dodgeball in 2005, Crowley wrote in a blog posting that he and Rainert were excited that as a result of the acquisition they'd have the time and resources to follow through on ideas that they wanted to work on.

Their departure follows complaints around the blogosphere that Dodgeball has languished at Google with little innovation added to the service since the acquisition. Some bloggers have questioned the future of Dodgeball, now that the founders are gone.

Google confirmed that Crowley and Rainert have left the company and emphasized its commitment to mobile social networking. "Dodgeball was an early attempt at understanding user needs in this space and we are continuing to evolve our

thinking and our offerings. However, we have nothing to announce at this time," Google said in a statement.

Biographies of Crowley and Rainert still appear on the "about us" page on Dodgeball.com.

Dodgeball users send a message from their mobile phones with their location, such as a bar or restaurant, to the service. The service then sends the user's designated friends a message letting them know where the user is. The user can also ask to be notified of the whereabouts of nearby friends of their friends.

Starting Monday, Crowley joined area/code, a company founded in 2005 that designs and executes what it calls Big Games. Big Games are large-scale, real-world games, such as one called PacManhattan where participants dress like characters in the video game Pac-Man and play the game by running through a designated course in Manhattan.

Rainert joined IconNicholson, a digital design agency.

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Nancy Gohring

IDG News Service
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