Facebook might be positioning itself to build new features around voice navigation or voice-activated search into the social network, thanks to the hiring of Google product designer Mike LeBeau.
While at Google and Google X, LeBeau worked as a Staff Software Engineer and Product Designer. LeBeau worked on a number of voice-related technologies, including iPhone Voice Search, the company’s acquisition of GrandCentral and its evolution into Google Voice, Google Maps for Mobile with Voice Search, and 1-800-GOOG-411.
He was an early member of the Android team, working on voice search and navigation features for the operating system. And later, at Google X helped build the voice interface for Google Glass.
Prior to Google, he worked at Tellme Networks, eBay, and PayPal.
But you might best know LeBeau from his acting work in a large number of Google marketing videos, such as 20 Searches [Through Glass] and Explore Nexus S: Voice Functions. For all that, he’s developed a bit of a fan club.
It’s not clear what LeBeau will be focused on at Facebook, but based on his past work it’s probably a safe bet that it will be voice-related.
On LinkedIn, LeBeau writes that he is “starting and leading a super exciting new confidential project.” And on Facebook, he posted the following message to his friends last week:
Big news! After nearly 8 amazing years at Google, I’m moving on! In a sort of last-minute whirlwind change, an opportunity that’s too good to resist has presented itself for a new project I’m crazy excited to go kick off and build a team as a Product Manager at Facebook in New York.
I’ll miss Google so much, but it’s time for the next adventure and I’m super pumped to get started. I can’t even express how grateful I am to all the amazing people I’ve worked with these past 8 years for making my time at Google amazing. I’m bummed to be departing from the Google Creative Lab where I’ve been spending my time the past couple of months, but feel really fortunate to have spent at least a little time among this really special group of people. Please stay in touch!
My last day at Google is tomorrow, March 28, and I start at Facebook on Monday. Here we go!
For a look at the kind of fun bloopers he made while at Google, check out these 73 seconds of goodness: