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Google merges Android and hardware teams for the sake of speed and AI

Rick Osterloh will now be in charge of all of Google's hardware and software efforts.

Published onApril 18, 2024

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Damien Wilde / Android Authority
  • Google is undergoing a major internal reorganization.
  • This shift will combine the efforts of its hardware and software teams.
  • The aim is to speed up the implementation of AI across its products

Ever since Google went all-in on AI, the company has been working on ways to speed up its LLM implementation across its portfolio. The first signs of this seemed to appear after there were reports of Google implementing a “Green Lane” initiative that allowed teams to conduct their own product approval reviews to approve AI projects more quickly. The most recent example of this, however, has taken the form of a major internal reorganization.

Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai announced in a blog post that Google will create a new department called Platforms and Devices. This department will combine the software and hardware teams and oversee Android, Chrome, Chrome OS, Photos, and more.

The reason for the drastic change is said to be for delivering “higher quality products and experiences,” to help “turbocharge the Android and Chrome ecosystems,” and to “bring the best innovations to partners faster.” Simply put, the firm wants to speed up the process of its AI implementation even more than before.

Taking over the new team will be Rick Osterloh, who was formerly in charge of all of Google’s hardware efforts. Meanwhile, Hiroshi Lockheimer, who oversaw Android, Chrome, ChromeOS, G1, and Photos, is said to be moving on to new projects across Alphabet. Sameer Samat, who helped Lockheimer run Android, will now be stepping up to be the lead across the Android ecosystem.

According to The Verge, both Osterloh and Lockheimer started talking to Pichai about making this shift two years ago. The move is happening now because it “felt like the right time,” Lockheimer says. Osterloh told the outlet that he believes that combining the two teams will allow Google to “integrate AI across all of its products” al faster than before.

In the announcement, Pichai says:

These changes continue the work we’ve done over the past year to simplify our structure and improve velocity and execution — such as bringing together the Brain team in Google Research with teams in DeepMind, which helped accelerate our Gemini models; unifying our ML infrastructure and ML developer teams to enable faster decisions, smarter compute allocation, and a better customer experience; and bringing our Search teams under one leader.

Google’s heavy focus on AI, which is evidenced by the rapid expansion of its AI products over the last year, shows that the company sees AI as the future of its business. And if it wasn’t clear before, this significant reorganization should be enough proof.

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