Liz Gannes

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Exclusive: Kevin Rose Will Join Google

Digg founder Kevin Rose has been hired by Google, according to sources close to the situation.

Rose’s mobile app incubator Milk yesterday announced it was shutting down its only product, Oink.

Google is not outright buying or “acqhiring” Milk, the sources explicitly said, but Rose and some others from the company have been hired. It’s not clear what will happen to Milk after Rose joins Google.

UPDATE: More people familiar with the deal said the rest of the Milk team is joining Google, with employees netting $1 million to $2 million each. although I’m still trying to nail down the value of the overall transaction. Milk investors are getting their initial investment money back plus a little extra, sources said.

Google declined to comment, and Rose did not reply to multiple requests.

Rose’s first day at Google is to be this Monday, the sources said.

Rose has an avid online following, stemming from his days as a host on TechTV and the long-running podcast “Diggnation.” Though Oink — which was a local recommendations app — may not have succeeded, it was able to hit 150,000 downloads in its first month.

That kind of ongoing fan engagement could be a boon to Google+, which has been criticized for low engagement and tricky user accounting.

Milk had raised funding from a huge group of angel investors as well as Google Ventures (yup), First Round Capital and True Ventures. The total raised was $1.7 million, so I suppose each of them did not have too much skin in the game.

Google had been very close to buying Digg in 2008, but the deal fell apart at the last minute.

Rose has also had an impressive run as an angel investor, putting money into companies like Fab, Zynga, Ngmoco, Foursquare and Twitter.

Update: Google and Rose confirmed the news.

(Image courtesy of Joi Ito)


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I’m a giant vat of creative juices.

— David Pogue on why he’s joining Yahoo