Sure there's people leaving Google these days for start-ups, angel investing, advisory boards, or just plain early retirement. It's natural - happens as companies grow. We're still retaining and recruiting smart folks.
I do have one ask of ex-Googlers - if you have the chance publicly, please celebrate your team, not just your personal accomplishments.
Huge shout out to my friend David Lee - formerly of Google business development, then Stumble Upon (for some time pre- and post-acquisition) and now spreading the seed funding love at Baseline.
When he left in April, VentureBeat said the following in a wrap-up of some google stuff: "the exit of video search expert David Lee, for StumbleUpon."
In the comments of this post, David chimed in himself: "Thx for the kind characterization in your post. I indeed left Google recently to StumbleUpon. That said, it’s probably an overstatement to say I was an “expert” - as my parents would attest, my name has never been associated w/that label. There are people at Google/Youtube who had - and continue to have - far greater impact than I. But I will print the current post as-is and send to my friends and family. Cheers, David"
Is that classy or what?
Feel free to shove this post in my face when i leave Google one day and claim to have invented all the products I worked on plus personally answered 72% of Google's search queries :)