Uber has poached another Googler.
According to a report from Re/code, former Google engineering VP Brian McClendon is set to join the on-demand car company and will head its new Advanced Technologies Center. McClendon worked for over a decade as Google’s head of Maps, Google Earth, and Street View.
McClendon will continue to work on Maps and location services at Uber.
“We’re thrilled that Brian is joining the Uber team,” said Uber’s Chief Product Officer Jeff Holden in a statement. “He led the development of Google Earth and Google Maps, truly world-class products, from the early days, and he’s an extraordinarily talented engineer and entrepreneur.”
McClendon oversaw Google’s mapping empire until last fall, when he was replaced. Since then, he’d been working on an “undisclosed special project unrelated to mapping”, according to Re/code.
McClendon is a huge steal for Uber, which is working hard to create its own mapping infrastructure. Currently, Uber relies on other major mapping services (mainly Google) to operate its fleet of drivers – and the company naturally would like to be able to break those ties and map with its own technology. Earlier this year, Uber purchased mapping company deCarta.
Mapping isn’t the only thing that McClendon will oversee at Uber’s Advanced Technologies Center in Pittsburgh. Uber is also hard at work on its own self-driving cars. Earlier this year, Uber announced a “strategic partnership” with Carnegie Mellon University that saw the creation of said “Uber Advanced Technologies Center” near the school’s campus.
“The center will focus on the development of key long-term technologies that advance Uber’s mission of bringing safe, reliable transportation to everyone, everywhere,” said Uber at the time. More specifically, “mapping and vehicle safety and autonomy technology.”
This is the first time Uber has snatched up a Googler in recent memory. Just last month, Uber stole Google’s head of communications and policy. A month before that, Uber hired Facebook’s Chief Security Officer.
Image via Jason Newport, Flickr Creative Commons