Google shakeup continues as Maps chief Huber shifts to new role
Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) continues to shuffle its executive ranks, announcing Senior Vice President of Geo and Commerce Jeff Huber will step down to pursue new projects within the company. The move follows just one day after longtime head of Android Andy Rubin also resigned his post.
The Wall Street Journal reports Huber will join Google X, led by co-founder Sergey Brin and dedicated to initiatives like Google Glass wearable computing devices and self-driving automobiles. "Jeff is an extraordinary executive," Google said in an emailed statement Thursday. "He just finished his first decade at Google--having worked on some of our most complicated issues like ads, apps, payments and geo--and now he is eager to work in more of a startup-like environment."
With Huber's exit, Google will split Maps and Commerce into two separate divisions. Sources say Google CEO Larry Page is weeding out perceived inefficiencies in an effort to accelerate the pace of "execution" and to forge "one consistent, beautiful and simple Google experience" that unites all of the company's services for the benefit of users. Bloomberg reports Alan Eustace, senior vice president overseeing businesses including search, will now lead mapping efforts, while Susan Wojcicki, senior vice president of advertising, will spearhead the commerce unit.
Google Maps is the second most popular mobile application among U.S. consumers, trailing only Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), according to a recent comScore Mobile Metrix report. After Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) dumped preloaded Google Maps access on iOS devices in favor of its much-criticized Apple Maps platform, Huber led development of a native Google Maps app for iPhone, released late last year. More than 10 million iOS device owners downloaded the app within its first two days of App Store availability, a milestone Huber announced via his Google+ social network account.
Google Maps also is a core feature across the Android mobile operating system, which now powers more than 750 million devices worldwide. With Rubin's resignation, Google is appointing Sundar Pichai, senior vice president of Chrome and Apps, to take over Android duties in addition to his existing work, fueling speculation Google plans to merge the two operating systems. Rubin will remain with the company in an unspecified role.
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