Google no longer has two of the most important people in the development of the Pixel. Taking a look at LinkedIn, we note that both Marc Levoy (main responsible for the Pixels being so good at a photographic level) and Mario Queiroz (leader of the Pixel division) no longer work at Google, thus having lost the company to two key pieces in the development of these products.
According to The Information, the launch of the Google Pixel 4 was the straw that broke the glass (among other reasons that the source does not detail), in a history of disputes, doubts about the Pixel and Google’s knowledge of weak points in the device.
The Pixel 4, alleged cause that everything has exploded
Mario Queiroz left Google earlier this year, thus ceasing to be the head behind the Google Pixel development team. The same is true of Marc Levoy, who has no longer worked at Google for two months. According to The Information, the development and launch of the Google Pixel 4 were one of the triggers of this situation.
Rick Osterloh, head of hardware at Google and the visible face in the Pixel presentations, would have commented internally their discontent before the launch of the Google Pixel 4. According to the source, in an internal meeting of the Osterloh team, he stated that he did not agree with some of the decisions made on the phone, being particularly concerned about its battery. This, of short duration as we saw in the product analysis and with a fairly low capacity in both models, disappointed the head of hardware at almost the same level as Soli, a facial recognition system that, at the launch of the Pixel, allowed the mobile phone unlocked with eyes closed.
At the level of sales, the Pixels have not gone well according to IDC estimates, neither at the level of the latest models nor with the generation of Pixel 4. In the United States, the most important market for Google, they barely have a 3% market share.
The situation and general discontent in the Pixel 4 project, according to The Information, has led to both team leaders leaving the company, completely separating themselves from the Pixel division and leaving unknowns about who will now take the reins in this product.
The importance of Queiroz and Levoy in the development of the Google Pixel
Mario Queiroz joined Google in August 2005 as a product manager, going on to head the Pixel division in 2016. Behind him fell the decisions at the engineering, design, product development, marketing and other levels. Decisions that could have been more or less accurate, but that have undoubtedly managed to make the Pixel, for better or for worse, a different and unique mobile.
Particularly serious case, considering that talking about the Google Pixel is talking about photography, is that of Marc Levoy. Is about one of the parents of computer photography, a fervent advocate that DSLR philosophy must be applied to mobile cameras and rely mainly on software rather than introducing a series of sensors that can provide versatility, but not better results.
Thanks to Levoy, developments such as Google’s HDR + have arrived (Years later it has been seen in other manufacturers how HDR is essential to balance the final results), portrait mode with a single lens or automatic correction of white balance towards neutral, regardless of the lighting in the scene. If we take a look at the page of Standford University, we see several of its papers, which describes the computational photography processes that ended up being applied in the Pixels.