SEO

Google promotes Liz Reid to head of Search

Google is making a number of changes to its executive team running Google Search:

  • Liz Reid, who was leading up core search experiences, will now be the Head of Search at Google.
  • Cheenu Venkatachary will be the new lead of Search quality and ranking.

With these changes, Pandu Nayak is stepping down as lead of search quality and ranking and will become Chief Scientist of Search. In another change, Cathy Edwards is moving to the Long-term Bets team in Knowledge and Information.

What Google said. A Google spokesperson sent Search Engine Land the following statement:

  • “We’re pleased to share that we’re unifying the Search org under Liz Reid – a longtime and well-respected leader at Google with deep product and technical knowledge. We have great momentum in Search, with recent improvements in search quality, new ways to search like Circle to Search, and features using gen AI to help with even more complex questions. For example, SGE, still only a Search Labs feature, has already been used for billions of queries. We’re excited to bring our Search teams together under her leadership.”

Liz Reid. About three years ago, Reid was appointed to lead of core search experience by Prabhakar Raghavan. She will continue to report to Raghavan in her new role as head of Search.

Reid joined Google in 2003. She is credited as one of the earliest pioneers of Google Maps and Local Search and helped Google redefine modern-day mapmaking with AI. Reid was also the first female engineer in the company’s New York office.

Specific to Search, Reid helped:

Liz Reid posted on LinkedIn saying, “Today, I’m taking on a new role leading Search, and am humbled by the opportunity to shape the future of this important product.” You can read her full message over on LinkedIn.

Cheenu Venkatachary. Venkatachary will lead the Google Search quality and ranking teams, taking over Nayak’s role. Venkatachary originally worked at Google from May 2013 to December 2014, then left for a company that was acquired by Apple. He returned to Google in October 2022.

Pandu Nayak. Nayak is becoming Chief Scientist, Search, where he will continue to advise and focus on technical challenges in Search. Google told us that he will remain deeply involved in Google’s broader efforts around content understanding, ranking and exploring how new AI technologies can enhance Google Search.

Google credits Nayak as the foremost expert on algorithms, ranking and information systems. Nayak is Google’s most recent inductee to the National Academy of Engineering.

Cathy Edwards. Edwards who led Google Apps, News, Discover and ecosystem efforts in 2021, is moving back to Australia and will join the Long-term Bets team. Edwards, the co-founder of Chomp (which was acquired by Apple) will help incubate new product ideas in partnership with leaders across Knowledge and Information.

Why we care. How this may impact Google Search and overall search quality remains to be seen. Google often makes high-level changes with its executive teams, and people move on. I am sure there will be a lot of speculation on why these moves are being made but overall, it seems like really smart and respected individuals are filling in the roles of those who are moving to other roles within the company.

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About the author

Barry Schwartz

Barry Schwartz is a Contributing Editor to Search Engine Land and a member of the programming team for SMX events. He owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry can be followed on Twitter here.

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