Andy Rubin, founder of Google’s Android mobile software, is on his way out at Google.
“I want to wish Andy all the best with what’s next,” Google CEO Larry Page said in a statement. “With Android he created something truly remarkable – with a billion plus happy users. Thank you.”
Less than a year ago, Rubin was picked to lead Google’s robotics effort. In recent years, Google has acquired several robotic companies including Boston Dynamics and Atlas. On the surface, Google is a search engine/advertising company, but Larry Page is actively hunting for the next big thing.
Who will fill Rubin’s spot? According to the WSJ, James Kuffner will become head of the robotics division. Kuffner is a member of the robotics group, so the transition should be a fairly smooth one. He also worked on the software engineering team responsible for the Google self-driving car, and coined the term ‘cloud robotics’ in 2010. Back in 2010, Kuffner described how robots connected to the cloud could leverage the internet for processing data and storing an extensive knowledge base.
As for Rubin? He’s going back to what he loves. Creating startups.
Jessica Lessin, EIC at The Information, tweeted Rubin wanted a bit more independence in the robotics group – similar to anti-aging company Calico (also part of Google.)
I imagine robotics are viewed as much more core-Google to Larry Page then anti-aging. Plus, it’s no secret that Page is a big fan of robotics and probably wants to keep a close eye on it.