Usefulness is in the eye of the beholder
> The fastest Smalltalk VM? Who cares
People who use(d) it, actually there are still quite a lot people and businesses using smalltalk and rightly so.
> How about writing something useful for a change? ... an open source C++ front-end for C++2011
Useful for you I assume, can't see how that would be that useful for Google. Anyway, as there are not many details released how do you know it's not going to be useful to many people?
> What's that? No? It's hard? Might be subject to scrutiny and peer review?
Some how I doubt that the two engineers mentioned are likely to be scared of something hard or subject to peer review. To be honest you even suggesting that is insulting to two well respected developers who have contributed a lot to our industry.