Joseph Smarr

Engineer on Google+ (led design of circles). Former CTO of @Plaxo (and 1st employee). Past Director of OpenID/OpenSocial Foundations. Love social web innovation.

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What I Do

I bring a mix of technical, design, and product strategy honed from my decade+ of experience building social consumer web technology and deep knowledge and connections to the people and products in our industry. I'm full-time at Google but love advising startups trying to improve the social web.


Joined Plaxo as their first employee (in March 2002) and helped build their web and sync technology, ultimately serving as their CTO. Our work pushed the envelope of rich AJAXy web apps, viral growth, natural language processing, deep cross-platform integrations, PR ups-and-downs, and ultimately resulted in an acquisition by Comcast in 2008, where the team lives on today. Helped create Plaxo Pulse, the first widely used social aggregator, and became a leading voice for the Open Social Web, contributing to the development of OpenID, OAuth, OpenSocial, Portable Contacts, and more. Recruited to Google in Jan 2010 to help lead their renewed social efforts (which became Google+); led the team that designed circles and the associated sharing model, created the team/processes to analyze and improve growth and engagement throughout the product, and now working on sekrit new awesomeness for G+. Frequent public speaker at conferences on internet identity, web development, open standards, etc.

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