Facebook Hires Apple’s Former Maps Manager Richard Williamson
On Tuesday, Bloomberg reported that Facebook has hired Apple’s former Maps manager, Richard Williamson. Williamson was in charge of Apple’s iOS mapping team, and was fired in November after the new Maps application was released with many issues and faced intense criticism. By hiring Williamson, Facebook is expanding its mobile push and improving its iOS and Android application to reflect many of the changes that they have made on the web version. Facebook released version 6.0 of their iOS application earlier this week with a new Chat Heads feature and a reworked UI.
Williamson joined Facebook in the past couple of weeks to be a manager within its expanding mobile-software group, said two of the people, who declined to be identified because the information isn’t public.
The new UI displays stories and images in a simplified and efficient manner, while the Chat Heads feature allows for users to continue their conversations with friends from anywhere in the application. Last year, Facebook also hired a number of engineers from Apple in an attempt to improve their mobile experience, which turned out to be the new Home feature for Android and part of the new version released this week.
Several members of Apple’s iPhone software group have defected to Facebook as Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg focuses on reaching customers on mobile devices. Apple alumni played a key role in designing Facebook’s recently introduced mobile product, called Home.Other former Apple employees brought in by Zuckerberg include Greg Novick, a former iPhone manager who helped develop the device’s touch interface; Mike Matas and Kimon Tsinteris, software designers who joined when Facebook acquired their company Push Pop Press; and software engineers Scott Goodson, Tim Omernick and Chris Tremblay.
The report also notes that Facebook also hired Loren Brichter of Twitter. Brichter designed the widely popular Tweetie app a twitter application and worked on former iOS chief Scott Forstall’s team. With all of these new hires, Facebook is gathering talent from all different parts of the mobile market and is setting itself up for developing a solid mobile experience for its users.