Google headhunts top Vole

Google has managed to head hunt Blaise Agüera y Arcas, who was a popular engineer working for Microsoft.

Agüera y Arcas is known for his work on services including Photosynth and Bing Maps.  He will be working on machine learning in his new role at Google.

A Microsoft Volespinner confirmed the rumours and said that Agüera y Arcas was “a great colleague and we wish him the best in his future endeavo(u)rs”.

Writing In a post on his bog, Agüera y Arcas said the decision was the hardest of his life:.

“On one hand, of course this is tremen­dously excit­ing; Google is a com­pany of grand ambi­tions and bril­liant peo­ple,” he writes. “On the other hand it has been hard— very hard— to detach emo­tion­ally from Microsoft.  The company’s lead­er­ship has been con­sis­tently good to me over these past eight years, and it has been a time filled with cre­ativ­ity and growth and good fiends.  It’s painful to leave behind so many won­der­ful ongo­ing projects, and even more so to leave behind such a great team.”

He has been burying into the Redmond Volehill since 2006 when the Redmond company bought  his startup, Seadragon Software. Early on in his career at the company, he became known for giving impressive demos of projects including the Photosynth photo-stitching software and the related Deep Zoom technology.

His last work was to oversee the recent update to Photosynth, released as a preview by the company last week.

In the good old days this type of move might have prompted a legal fight based on Microsoft’s standard non-compete clause in its employment agreements.  In this case Microsoft does not seem to care.  Perhaps because it is restructuring it just means there are less staff numbers to be worried about. Besides the antitrust regulators are looking closely at how big technology companies are working to stop staff moving between each other.