Continuing its quest for top Silicon Valley talent and improvise its mapping system, Uber has recruited Manik Gupta, a director of product management for Google Maps and a seven-year vet at the search giant.
Gupta has joined Uber as director of product, Maps. Google isn’t making any statement as to who will take over the vacated position. Prior to this change, Gupta managed Google Maps data for the past year and had worked on the product since 2008.
Interestingly, Brian McClendon, the former head of Google’s entire mapping division moved to Uber in July this year. And soon after, Manik Gupta has followed the footsteps of McClendon.
Uber has also been quiet serious when it comes to its mapping and navigation system. Not much time ago, it partnered with the Dutch technology company TomTom to make use of its digital maps and navigation system. It also acquired a portion of Microsoft’s map technology and hired about 100 of engineers from Microsoft’s mapping team.
Another effort to make improvisation to this part of Uber’s services included acquisition of mapping tech startup deCarta, aimed at refining services like UberPOOL and improve as to how it calculates estimated-time-of-arrivals.
Uber had earlier reportedly offered to buy Nokia’s mapping business for around $3 billion early this year but lost out on the deal to a consortium of German automakers.
Uber has shown increased interest in developing its own mapping operations despite maintaining close ties to Google — which is also an investor into the over $50 Billion valued ride-hailing service.
Here is Gupta’s note in full:
After seven fantastic years with the wonderful Google Maps team, I have joined Uber as Director of Product, Maps.
I was very fortunate to be a part of the amazing journey as Google Maps got to more than a billion users and online maps of the entire world. I learnt a lot, especially how to motivate high performing teams and deliver on bold, long-term bets. I am grateful for all the guidance and mentorship I received over the years.
The problem space around “helping move X from point A to point B” has always intrigued me. During my career I have understood this problem more deeply via founding an e-commerce startup to managing Hewlett-Packard’s online stores Asia operations and finally via building maps at Google. Uber’s version of this problem fascinates me tremendously and I look forward to learning a lot more.
I am very excited by Uber’s vision. There are very few companies that create such rapid and sustained change in consumer behavior and I am excited by what’s next.