Siri Hires Mobile Expert Gummi Hafsteinsson Away From Google

We haven’t heard all that much from Siri, the venture-backed startup that is working on virtual assistant applications for smartphones.

Still well below most people’s radar, the company raised $24 million in venture capital and recently released its first app for the iPhone after nearly a year of development.

But that doesn’t mean the startup has a lack of ambition: they’ve just hired Gummi Hafsteinsson, who has led several of Google’s most successful mobile product initiatives as Senior Product Manager for the past 5 years, as their new VP of Product. Hafsteinsson originally joined Google’s mobile group in July 2005 and first managed the Google Maps for Mobile product.

More recently, he led development of Google’s voice-powered search app for all the major mobile platforms – iPhone, Android, Blackberry and Symbian. He reported directly to Vic Gundotra, Google’s VP of Engineering.

Prior to joining Google, Gummi founded and ran a company called Dimon Software that produced mobile enterprise connectivity software designed to enable enterprises to access corporate IT systems from any mobile device.

His experience in developing scalable applications for multiple platforms tells us Siri is working on making its virtual personal assistant product cross-platform. Its proposition was compelling enough to bring home the award for most innovative Web service at the Microsoft BizSpark Accelerator at SXSW, by the way.

In other news, Siri is now available for iPod touch devices, integrated Twitter into the service last week and is closing in on a quarter million early users.

(Photo by Peter DaSilva for the New York Times)