Google has hired a former lead Pebble and webOS designer Liron Damir as the new head of user experience of its Google Home group, which works on products such as Google Home, Chromecast and Google Wifi. Damir announced that he joined Google on Linkedin this week, writing that he was “super excited and proud to be joining Google… to lead the design of Google Home products.”
A Google spokesperson confirmed the hire Thursday, but declined to comment further.
Most recently, Damir worked as head of UX for Essential, the new startup from Android founder Andy Rubin. Before that, he was VP of design at Pebble, the pioneering smart watch maker that got acquired by Fitbit in late 2016.
Before joining Pebble, Damir led the webOS design efforts at HP, and then at LG. webOS was initially developed as a mobile operating system to take on Android and iOS, but HP scrapped these efforts when it realized that it couldn’t compete with the likes of Apple and Samsung. The company sold webOS to LG in early 2013, which ended up using the operating system for its smart TVs.
Damir is joining the Google Home group at an interesting time. Google Home itself launched as a product without a screen, and Chromecast has been positioned as a device without an on-screen user interface, instead relying on mobile apps for content selection and control.
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However, Google demonstrated at its developer conference in May that it is working on closely integrating both products, which will require more complex on-screen interfaces. For example, Google Home owners will soon be able to have their calendar and other information displayed on any Chromecast-equipped TV, and Chromecast owners will be able to ask Google’s voice assistant to display video recommendations directly on their TV screens.