The Wall Street Journal reported today that Google is reducing the number of core product groups from five to seven. As part of this move, the mapping and commerce unit, led by Jeff Huber, will be split with the mapping unit moved under the search group, led by Alan Eustace. A Google spokesperson said that Huber is moving to Google X, a division that is exploring Google Glass. Google Earth, Google Maps and Google's online shopping-search units were being managed by Huber.
Google loves shuffling the deck of employees, never having them stay in one division any longer than about 18 months. Some employees have been with Google Maps and Earth for longer, especially those with geospatial expertise. When Marissa Mayer (See Directions' interview with Mayer) ran the mapping unit before her departure to Yahoo, it was thought that more emphasis would be placed on geospatial searching since she was one of the original Google search engineers. Now, perhaps we should expect to see better geospatial querying capabilities with a new home under the Google search team.