Curiosity Expert: Megan Smith

Vice President, New Business Development, Google Inc.

Megan Smith
Courtesy of Megan Smith

Megan oversees teams that manage early-stage partnerships, pilot explorations, and technology licensing working closely with Google's engineering and product teams globally. She joined Google in 2003 and has led several of the company's acquisitions, including Keyhole (Google Earth), Where2Tech (Google Maps) and Picasa. She also co-led the company's early work with publishers for Google Book Search. Recently, Megan led the Google.org team transition to add and expand engineering based projects like Google Crisis Response, Google for Nonprofits, and Earth Outreach/Earth Engine in addition to Google's more traditional corporate giving.

Previously, Megan was the CEO and, earlier, COO of PlanetOut, the leading gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender online community. Under her leadership, PlanetOut grew tenfold in reach and revenue. Prior to that, Megan was at General Magic for six years working on handheld communications products and partnerships. She also worked in multimedia at Apple Japan in Tokyo.

Over the years, Megan has contributed to a wide range of engineering projects, such as designing an award-winning bicycle lock; working on a space station construction research project that eventually flew on the U.S. space shuttle; and running a field-research study on solar cookstoves in South America. She was also a member of the MIT-Solectria student team that designed, built, and raced a solar car in the first cross-continental solar car race, covering 2,000 miles of the Australian outback. She was selected as one of the 100 World Economic Forum technology pioneers for 2001 and 2002.

Megan holds a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in mechanical engineering from MIT, where she now serves on the board. She completed her master's thesis work at the MIT Media Lab.

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