Owlchemy Labs Scooped Up By Google

In your latest sign that VR software development is totally unsustainable as a standalone business, Owlchemy Labs has been bought by Google:

Today, we’re thrilled to welcome Owlchemy Labs to Google. They’ve created award-winning games like Job Simulator and Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality which have really thoughtful interactive experiences that are responsive, intuitive, and feel natural. They’ve helped set a high bar for what engagement can be like in virtual worlds, and do it all with a great sense of humor!

This doesn’t bode well for Owlchemy’s future output. I look forward to their shares vesting and the developer’s inevitable exit back to independent companies who actually make games again.

Will Smith Departing Tested

Will Smith (one half of the awesome duo behind Tested.com, not the actor):

About six years ago, I pitched my idea for Tested to the folks at Whiskey Media. My pitch was simple, let’s make a technology site that’s about having fun with technology instead of showing people how snarky and cool we could be.

I never could have predicted the way that one conversation would change my life. Since Norm and I launched Tested in 2010, I’ve been privileged to go places and see things that I never thought I’d see in person. I stood on top of a nuclear reactor (while it was running!), I was the kitchen assistant to a couple of world-classchefs who were developing recipes for astronauts, I helped test different ways to waterproof cameras, I hosted a bunch of 24-hour charity showsI tested talk time on six phones simultaneously, I 3D printed LOTS of goofy stuff, I learned to race quadcopters, I made a bunch of goofy faces, I saw the future of robotics, I helped turn a San Diego bar into the carbon freezing chamber from Empire Strikes Back, and I had the opportunity to work with and learn directly from Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman on a daily basis.

Put another way, I’ve spent the last five and a half years meeting thousands of amazing people and helping to tell their stories every day. The places I’ve been and things I’ve seen are nothing compared to the amazing makers, scientists, nerds, students, and entrepreneurs I’ve gotten to meet while making the 2512 videos (as of 9/10/2015) that we’ve posted on Tested since 2010.

But, now it’s time for me to step away from Tested and take on a new challenge.

I wasn’t happy with some of the changes to Tested after the site was taken over by Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage, especially the logo, but it probably wouldn’t have been there without their intervention.

Will and Norm were an incredible team who always had a charming demeanor and the best attitude towards technology. Even when they were not happy with a product I worked on they gave it their best and seemed sympathetic to it instead of cynical.

We’re All Doomed: Part LXVII

Chris DiBona announces the shutdown of Google Code:

When we started the Google Code project hosting service in 2006, the world of project hosting was limited. We were worried about reliability and stagnation, so we took action by giving the open source community another option to choose from. Since then, we’ve seen a wide variety of better project hosting services such as GitHub and Bitbucket bloom. Many projects moved away from Google Code to those other systems. To meet developers where they are, we ourselves migrated nearly a thousand of our own open source projects from Google Code to GitHub.

As developers migrated away from Google Code, a growing share of the remaining projects were spam or abuse. Lately, the administrative load has consisted almost exclusively of abuse management. After profiling non-abusive activity on Google Code, it has become clear to us that the service simply isn’t needed anymore.

Beginning today, we have disabled new project creation on Google Code. We will be shutting down the service about 10 months from now on January 25th, 2016.

There are a ton of abandoned but still useful projects on Google Code, most of which will be lost after 2016 if nobody clones them and puts them online somewhere else. At least an Export to GitHub button on every Google Code site now.

This is your continued reminder that Google, and start-ups funded by VC money, are not a safe place to store your work. Own your shit before GitHub starts inserting malware into downloads or sells out in some original and disruptive way. Get a domain, some shared hosting, maybe a Linux or BSD VPS if you’re rich. With git it is easy enough to move a project if you have cloned the project locally and have established a web presence that people can check for updates. At the very least, don’t make the GitHub page the public-facing home for your project.

Even Google isn’t stupid enough to put their most important projects on another company’s servers:

Google will continue to provide Git and Gerrit hosting for certain projects like Android and Chrome. We will also continue maintaining our mirrors of projects like Eclipse, kernel.org and others.

You can be sure their internal code for things like search aren’t hosted on GitHub, either.

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