Google Maps chief leaves for Twitter; Project Ara phones due in January

Daniel Graf, Google's (GOOG +0.8%) Maps chief since 2012, is leaving to become Twitter's (TWTR +11.4%) consumer products VP. Among other things, Graf spearheaded the launch of Google's widely-praised iOS Maps apps after Apple controversially opted to use a home-grown Maps app in iOS 6.

Graf takes over Twitter's consumer product efforts at a time when the microblogging leader is attempting to boost flagging user growth by launching and testing a slew of changes meant to make its platform more photo/video-friendly and less intimidating to new users more Facebook-like news feeds.

Separately, Google has announced the first phone for its Project Ara custom/modular phone initiative will arrive in January, and sell for just $50; presumably, adding various custom parts will increase that figure.

Google plans to have Ara, which aims to let smartphone buyers mix and match components such as a device's camera, display, and CPU, support three device sizes. Google will supply "electronics backbones" for the devices, but will rely on third parties to provide the modules that run on top of them.

Twitter shares have flown higher amid an afternoon market rebound.

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Comments (5)
  • eh.geee@gmail
    , contributor
    Comments (46) | Send Message
    That's good news for Google Maps -- the latest iterations of the Maps interface were becoming increasingly bewildering and arcane. It still misses some of the features (let alone the convenience and simplicity) of the "old" Maps UI.
    Here's hoping the next person to take over Maps cleans things up.
    15 Apr 2014, 04:40 PM Reply Like
  • 1oFaKiNd
    , contributor
    Comments (4) | Send Message
    I feel the same for the new Google map. It has become extremely hard to use and some of its useful features in the old version are lacking. The problem with new updated version of any software is they always take out the useful features and move them to a different place or make a new interface that they think it's easier to use but in fact makes the newer version sucks and harder to use. The same goes for the android Google map btw.
    15 Apr 2014, 05:16 PM Reply Like
  • PlatinumChip
    , contributor
    Comments (104) | Send Message
    Good riddance to Mr. Graf, if they could make the software more modern and user friendly now that would be great.
    15 Apr 2014, 09:17 PM Reply Like
  • Alan.Bond
    , contributor
    Comment (1) | Send Message
    wish google into China like facebook. It is a great market! I am longing Google.
    15 Apr 2014, 09:13 PM Reply Like
  • digiTrader
    , contributor
    Comments (56) | Send Message
    I'd assume he will be following the footsteps of Michael Sippey TWTR's former vice president of products who left (had to leave ?) in Dec.
    @sippey did a good job, but this game is hard to win.
    There is a mismatch between what is being expected and what can be delivered.
    I don't think Dick Costolo and Mike Gupta truly believe that they will be able to deliver the multi billion revenues, which are being expected by Wall Street.
    They don't have a clue. Switching the "product guy" won't move the needle.
    TWTR is a good company, the only thing is that it's price is far too high.
    17 Apr 2014, 07:48 AM Reply Like
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