Google also shuffles several projects as part of its "spring clean"

Google Inc. (GOOG) continues to be strongly profitable, leads the world in search engine traffic, and makes the world's most-used smartphone OS.  But in recent weeks the Mountain View, Calif.-based company has been doing a bit of "spring cleaning".  It previously announced that after a decade SVP Andy Rubin was leaving the Android team to work on other undisclosed projects at Google; stepping in for him was Chrome and Android apps SVP Sundar Pichai.

I. Commerce/Mapping Unit Splits, Merges Into Other Units

Now Google is doing more rattling of the executive ranks.

Geo and commerce SVP Jeff Huber, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal, will move to manage Google X, Google's experimental development unit, which is cooking up projects such as self-driving cars and the Google Glass wearable computer.  The mapping unit will be merged with the search unit, which will remain under the supervision of SVP of "Knowledge" (search) Alan Eustace. 

The commerce part of Mr. Huber's former unit will be merged into the advertising unit, under SVP Susan Wojcicki.

Google executives
Jeff Huber (left), Susan Wojcicki (center), and Alan Eustace (right) are the Google SVPs involved in the latest shakeup. [Image Source: Google]

Mr. Huber formerly worked at Internet service provider Excite@Home and eBay, Inc. (EBAY) before joining Google in 2003.  He was among the engineers to be promoted when Larry Page took over the reins as CEO in 2011.

A Google spokeswoman appears to partially confirm these shifts, commenting, "Jeff is an extraordinary executive. 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."

II. Some Services Get Closed or Cut

In addition to the leadership shuffle, Google is discontinuing several services.  

Among the shuttered services include:
  • Google Cloud Connect
    It's shuttering the document exchange service as it says it's redundant with Google Drive.
  • Google Voice App for Blackberry
    A cross-platform HTML5 app is an effective replacement.
  • Apps Script (GUI Builder and five UiApp widgets )
    Project is refocusing on Html Service.
  • Snapshot Desktop for Macintosh and Windows
    No explanation given; the mobile counterparts will live on, though.
Google is also effectively closing several open source or community-driven efforts.  Those projects include:
  • Google Building Maker
    No explanation given; people will no longer be able to add 3D models of buildings -- Google staff will do that.
  • Search API for Shopping
    Google is close sourcing this to try to promote its Google Shopping service.
Shopping cart
Google is closing off its Shopping API. [Image Source: Uth Mag]

While Google regularly scraps less successful projects, these moves still tend to attract a lot of attention.  Google remains one of the biggest proponents of open source software, but moves like closing the Shopping API will surely fuel fears that its open ethos is waning in its search for better monetization.

Sources: WSJ, Google

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