Uber Hires Google’s Former Head of Maps. This means that Uber is getting serious about maps, and it has poached the former head of Google Maps to lead the charge.
Brian McClendon, a Google engineering VP and 10-year company veteran, will be overseeing Uber’s new Advanced Technologies Center out of Pittsburgh, the one staffed by engineers recruited from Carnegie Mellon’s National Robotics Engineering Center, according to sources familiar with the matter. Uber confirmed the hire.
McClendon, who will be based in Uber’s San Francisco headquarters and will travel to Pittsburgh, will help guide Uber’s mapping, self-driving car and vehicle safety initiatives and will report to Chief Product Officer Jeff Holden.
“We’re thrilled that Brian is joining the Uber team,” Holden told Re/code. “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 was one of the rare Googlers to join the search giant via an acquisition and stay for several years. He arrived in 2004 with the purchase of Keyhole, part of a trio of companies Google swept up before the public birth of Maps. Keyhole’s technology became Google Earth. Its co-founder, John Hanke, also stayed at Google, where, in 2010, he was given oversight of the internal incubator Niantic Labs.