We’ve just heard about more strife and concern inside one of Google’s most important—and confusing—business units.
Google executive Jeff Huber oversees Geo and Commerce, a mishmash of businesses from maps to payments to local commerce. It’s a tough job. How tough?
Well, Stephanie Tilenius just left that group to join Kleiner Perkins as an executive in residence.
Her duties were substantially reduced in January, when she was taken off of Google Wallet, the company’s payments product, and put in charge of unspecified international-commerce efforts. No one we’ve spoken to have been able to point to anything concrete that Tilenius accomplished in that position.
One source who knows Tilenius personally noted that she seems to have far more time to post on Facebook lately, whereas she was pretty quiet while working on Google Wallet. Another source suggested that Tilenius was more or less given her most recent position at Google as a face-saving move—for both her and for Google, which has made a big deal out of Wallet and doesn’t want to admit it’s been a disappointment—and told to find a job elsewhere.
Around the same time Tilenius got her new position, Rob von Behlen, one of the first engineers on Google Wallet, moved off the project as well. He joined Square a few months later.
Wallet has faced a ton of challenges in the marketplace since launching just over a year ago, with mobile carriers and merchants alike not showing much interest in using it for mobile payments.
That’s not the only area where Huber’s group has faced unrest and challenges, we’ve heard.
Just today, people within Geo and Commerce were discussing how they can’t afford to have any more people leave its mobile team.
Google executive Brian McClendon, who’s in charge of Google Maps and related products, is apparently upset about something related to Google I/O, the company’s upcoming developer conference.
And don’t forget Marissa Mayer, who’s in charge of Google’s local commerce efforts. Once a high-profile executive who oversaw all of Google’s consumer products, she made the cover of national magazines. But she was more or less demoted in the reorganization last year that made Huber her boss. She can’t be totally content with that situation.
A lot of people inside Google have spoken up in defence of Huber, saying he was handed a poorly defined organisation. Clearly so. But this level of departures and murmuring is a sign of unusual flux at the normally tightly sealed Googleplex.
If you know anything about what’s happening at Google now, please email us. We are discreet.