It's a Google business shakeup this week, as the company first revealed that Andy Rubin was stepping down as the head of Android, and then announced that its much-loved Google Reader RSS client would be shut down this summer. Now sources claim that senior vice president Jeff Huber will be stepping down as the head of its mapping and commerce unit.
Google is seemingly on top of the world, commanding both the smartphone and tablet sectors. It's also leading the search engine market, and is gearing up to launch an augmented reality device that will change how consumers access their email and social needs. But recent events are causing some concern as to what's going on at Android HQ this week.
The latest report in the two-part management shift stems from The Wall Street Journal that claims that Jeff Huber has stepped aside as head of Google's mapping and commerce unit. Furthermore, it will be split up into two units, while Huber will be shifted over to Google X, the department run by Google Glass lead Sergey Brin.
According to unnamed sources, the mapping unit will become part of the Google search team, which is led by Alan Eustace. The commerce unit will be moved into the advertising group led by Susan Wojcicki. The move was announced internally around the same time CEO Larry Page informed employees about Rubin stepping down from the Android throne.
The paper points out that the management changes reduces the overall number of core product-group chiefs from seven to five: Pichai (Android, Chrome), Eustace (Search), Wojcicki (Advertising), Gundotra (Google+), and Kamangar (YouTube). The move regarding Huber was less of a surprise than Rubin, sources said.
Huber joined Google in 2003 and moved up the corporate ladder to run the software engineering part of Google's advertising business (AdWords, AdSense). Once Larry Page took the reins of Google, Huber was one of several engineers to be promoted to Senior Vice President and was thus assigned to the former mapping/commerce unit.
On Thursday, Larry Page said that Sundar Pichai, the head of Google's Chrome division, which includes the web browser and operating system, will take Rubin's place as the head of Android development in addition to his existing work with Chrome and Apps. Rubin decided it was time to hand over the Android controls and start a "new chapter" within Google, Page said.