Google is Using Name AI to Significantly Change its Android and Pixel Teams

It’s no secret that Google’s current priority is artificial intelligence. Almost all of the company’s recent announcements have centered around how generative AI services, such as Gemini, aim to permanently transform the IT sector.

Less than a month before I/O, Google is unveiling today a significant reorganization of its internal team structure, uniting multiple hardware and software projects under a single team, including Pixel and Android. You guessed it: AI plays a major role in this move.

Since the first Pixel phone was introduced in 2016, Osterloh has held the position of Senior Vice President of Devices & Services, so most AP readers are probably familiar with him. He is currently leading a new team called “Platforms and Devices,” which will concentrate on almost all of your beloved Google products, such as Pixel, Android, Chrome and ChromeOS, Photos, and more.

Hiroshi Lockheimer, who has been in charge of the Android team since 2015 and has been working on Google’s mobile operating system development almost from the beginning, will be moving on to other projects within the firm in the meanwhile.

Essentially, Osterloh says, this shift reflects Google’s emphasis on artificial intelligence (AI); having these teams together allows Google to take advantage of “full-stack innovation when necessary.”

Osterloh continues by using the GPUs and camera of the Pixel as illustrations of how a collaborative effort between hardware, software, and AI experts can advance technology more quickly than the efforts of several disparate teams operating independently.

On paper, the notion isn’t all that horrible. The division in Google’s organizational structure has been one of the primary criticisms leveled at the corporation during the last ten years. This can speed up the development of new software solutions by enabling several smaller teams to work together, but it also results in an endless number of communications systems and discarded concepts.

Theoretically, the ideal method to make sure that every employee is working toward the same goal of releasing the greatest hardware and software combo possible is to gather some of the company’s best products under one roof — and under one CEO.

While a more focused Google might be a wonderful result of this update, it is unquestionably not the main reason for the move. This action is being taken while Google is under more pressure than ever to beat competitors like OpenAI’s ChatGPT, a genAI platform with Microsoft’s full support and financial backing.

Osterloh uses Jay Yagnik as an illustration of how Google will gain from this. Yagnik was formerly a member of the company’s AI team, but she is joining Osterloh to advance practical AI applications by fusing research and commercial goods in one area.

This seems great on paper, especially in light of the fact that one of the main criticisms leveled against AI in the last 18 months has been the minimal influence it currently has on average end users. Furthermore, it doesn’t seem like this is a hasty decision—both Osterloh and Lockheimer have been discussing it with Google CEO Sundar Pichai for almost two years.

However, the extent to which these previously unrelated teams can collaborate is limited. Osterloh clarifies that Sameer Samat’s appointment as president of the Android ecosystem does not breach the barrier that separates Pixel and Android.

In essence, Android wants to take the lead as the mobile AI platform, while later this year, Apple is said to be adding additional AI-related features to iOS. At I/O on May 14th, hopefully, we’ll find out a lot more about what Google’s mobile operating system looks like in the future. Hopefully, this restructuring will be far more successful than Google’s previous major restructure centered around their newest obsession.