An influential Google Maps exec just got poached to build products at Uber

Google Maps: Brian McClendonJustin Sullivan/Getty ImagesBrian McClendon just got poached by Uber

Google’s former head of Maps, once seen as one of Google’s most influential execs, just got poached by Uber, according to Re/code.

Business Insider has independently confirmed the report.

As a ten-year Google Maps veteran, Brian McClendon will be bringing his expertise to Uber’s new Advanced Technologies Center in Pittsburgh, where he’ll be guiding the company’s development of mapping and vehicle safety and autonomy technology.

That McClendon decided to leave isn’t exactly surprising. Jen Fitzpatrick replaced McClendon as Google Maps VP last fall, and in May, and a source told Business Insider that he was likely on his way out.

McClendon, described as a “towering figure” within the the company, joined Google way back in 2004 after ti acquired the digital mapping software startup Keyhole where he was an engineering VP.

And the fact that McClendon left Google for Uber isn’t exactly a shock either, given the talent flow between the two companies lately.

Tom Fallows, former founder of Google Express and current Uber exec, said on stage at a recent StrictlyVC event that one out of three people he works with is a former Google colleague. Google’s PR boss, Rachel Whetstone, recently ditched the search giant for Uber too.

Uber currently uses Google Maps data to power its apps for drivers and riders, but McClendon’s hire in conjunction with the company’s recent acquisition of a mapping startup and reports that it could be interested in buying Nokia’s mapping unit, hint that that relationship might not last.

Google and Uber’s ambitions are starting to overlap more in other areas too: Both companies are experimenting in the speedy-delivery space.

Google has Express, a same-day delivery service that’s available in seven areas. Meanwhile, Uber continues to experiment with ways it can turn its vast fleet of drivers into a logistical network to be reckoned with.

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