Google is undergoing a significant reorganization of its Devices & Services teams, responsible for Pixel, Nest, and Fitbit hardware. The restructuring involves moving from distinct, independent teams for Pixel, Nest, and Fitbit to a functional organization model. In this new approach, there will be a single team responsible for hardware engineering across Pixel, Nest, and Fitbit, leading to a more unified approach to product development. The changes also include a leadership shakeup, with Fitbit co-founders James Park and Eric Friedman, along with other Fitbit leaders, leaving Google.
This reorganization marks a departure from the previous setup, where each hardware division had its own dedicated teams for various aspects such as design, hardware engineering, software, and UI. Google is aligning itself with a functional organization model similar to Apple, where centralized teams handle software engineering, services, hardware technologies, and hardware engineering.
As part of the restructuring, Google is also reducing its workforce in the Devices & Services division, with a particular focus on downsizing the first-party augmented reality (AR) hardware team. This suggests a shift away from developing Google’s own AR hardware, emphasizing a commitment to the OEM-partnership model. Despite the changes, Google maintains its dedication to other AR initiatives, highlighting existing AR features in Lens and Maps, as well as ongoing product partnerships. The company reassures that it remains deeply committed to AR and points to collaborations like the Android XR partnership with Samsung for developing a headset.
While the Pixel phone team reportedly remains largely intact, the reorganization signifies a move towards a more cohesive and streamlined approach to hardware development across different product categories. The restructuring is part of Google’s ongoing efforts to optimize its organizational structure, streamline operations, and foster collaboration across various hardware initiatives.