Google Poaches Blaise Agüera From Microsoft, The Man Behind Photosynth, Bing Maps And More

Just few days back Blaise Agüera from Microsoft gave us a demo of the upcoming Photosynth technology TED. Sad news is that he has left to Google. NYTimes today reported that he has left the company to join its rival Google. Blaise and his team worked on some unknown augmented reality, wearable computing and natural user interfaces projects at Microsoft. Publicly we know that Blaise Agüera was working on Photosynth, Bing Maps and Bing Mobile. NYTimes reported that Agüera y Arcas will work on machine learning at Google. Microsoft on its part commented the following,

“He was a great colleague and we wish him the best in his future endeavors.”

People come and go at Microsoft all the time. But losing someone like Blaise to Google will really hurt Microsoft.

Blaise today confirmed his new job on his blog with the following message,

Nick Wing­field at the New York Times just broke the news that I’m going to Google.  On one hand, of course this is tremen­dously excit­ing; Google is a com­pany of grand ambi­tions and bril­liant peo­ple.  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 friends.  It’s painful to leave behind so many won­der­ful ongo­ing projects, and even more so to leave behind such a great team.

The hard­est deci­sion of my life.

Good luck with your new job, Blaise!

Source: NYTimes

  • John Nutter

    Ugh..that’s not cool. Is there anything google isn’t allowed to buy? Oh that’s right, they get our privacy for free..

    • Guest

      It like rats jumping off a sinking ship!!!!!

  • Joe

    Sad news indeed!

  • Yehuda Lauer

    well… thats gonna be an annoying set back…

  • jaylyric

    I fuckin’ seriously hate Google!! Why didn’t they have him at least do a non compete? Smh.. Did to just talk up stuff Microsoft related a few days ago.. I hope Google as gets found guilty of anti- competitive practices in Canada during their investigations and get a really huge punishment,since the US was too dumb to do so..

    • Nham Thien Duong

      That’s true, bundling their apps with Android, bundling Google Chrome with Chromebooks, there’s just so much to sue.

      • freeman

        You do release how stupid this makes you sound. Seriously Chrome with Chromebooks and their apps with Android. Try engaging a few brain cells please.

        • whatup12

          @freeman–how would you feel about bundling internet explorer with windows as a default option? he is saying that android apps all come with android–a similar situation that got MSFT into trouble.

          • freeman

            No they don’t this is just wrong. An OEM has to pay Google to ship Android devices with with Google apps/services. While Android is free Google Apps are not. OEMs such as Amazon have shipped Android completely with there own services. Verizon even shipped an Android device where Google Search was replaced by Bing. Google services are just Apps running at the same level as any other app and which services to ship are entirely upto the OEM. Even Ubuntu touch is really a version of Android(CyanogenMod.) The reason most OEM’s ship with Google services is because they are the best.

            Do I really need to explain for the wooden headed how Microsoft integrating IE tightly into windows so OEM’s have no option to ship windows without it or to replace it with another browser. Do I have to explain how many users prefer other browsers to IE and Microsoft’s strategy is to abuse their dominate desktop position to control the browser market instead of making a browser people want to use.

            To claim these too situations are the same is nonsense.

          • whatup12

            First of all–relax. Take a deep breath…in and out. in and out. Ok, you back now?
            To be clear, you are saying that OEM’s paid Google to ship a phone like Moto G with Google services included (chrome, google maps, gmail app, etc?)? Other than your borderline rant, please send a reference to help confirm this and how much is paid for the inclusion of something like Chrome on Android. This differs from popular sentiment and could very well be true, but independent verification would be nice.

          • freeman

            wow, clearly you have a problem understanding a basic concept. OEM’s don’t pay anything to ship a an Android phone.

            1) Android is opensource and free for anyone to use or ship.

            2) The Google apps for Android, such as YouTube, Google Maps and Navigation, Gmail, and so on are Google properties that are not part of Android, and are licensed separately. Contact for inquiries related to those apps.

            If you wanna know pricing contact them.

            So when you said “he is saying that android apps all come with android–a similar situation that got MSFT into trouble.” you and him where both wrong. Amazon, Verizon and Ubuntu have all shipped versions of Android without any Google services paying Google not one dime or generated one dime,

          • Privacy_First

            Hello, android is Google. Google acquired Android in 2005. Get off your high horse fanboy!

          • freeman

            No sh$t Sherlock. Talk about stating the obvious. They also open sourced Android almost immediately leaving OEMS such as Samsung, HTC, LG etc to build their own custom versions for free. Further companies such as Amazon and Verizon customized extremely heavily shipping zero Google services. Modders even gained commercial investment to build custom versions such as Cyanogenmod and MIUI. Anybody can goto the Android ASOP download it and compile it. To somehow claim that this is the same as Microsoft integrating IE tightly into Windows has been rightly exposed as fanboi BS.

          • grs_dev

            Umm I think this article is about a very talented scientist leaving Microsoft to go to Google. Somehow you feel like this is a good opportunity to debate Android’s business model. I am not getting why, but I just wanted to help you refocus.

          • freeman

            Read the thread I responded to several inaccurate posts. If you don’t like the apparent tangent either respond to the person who started it, ignore it or get involved in it. However I find it ironic that someone who has engaged in different tangents by three posts now complaining about it.

          • grs_dev

            I am trying to help you stay on track! You’re all over the place :) Good luck.

          • freeman

            You should try keeping your self on track let others worry about themselves, though it does explain why your posts are so often inaccurate.

          • grs_dev

            You’re all over the place and know just enough to be stupid. Good luck

          • freeman

            lol, I see you can’t answer so maybe I will try one at a time.

            1) If IE can be uninstalled from windows or windows ships without it then provide a link where I can buy a version without MSHTML.dll please?

            Its ironic that someone calling another stupid would make a claim that you can get windows without IE yet not be able to identify it.

            I made another 6 points and your inability to answer them shows whos stupid.

          • grs_dev

            I am not sure what your argument is anymore! Is your argument about Android being free? It’s not. While it can exist for educational purposes for free, as soon as you, Verizon, Amazon, or anyone tries to monetize it, they will have to deal with the mountain of intellectual property it shits on. So again, since you already took us on a tangent why not go on yet another one… Yippieeeee

          • freeman

            This is BS just like your refocusing. Android is free 100% Amazon, Oppo, Cyanogenmod, MIUI etc have proven it. I can download ASOP Android now compile it and distribute it for free. Clearly you don’t know what a royalty is.

          • grs_dev

            Amazon signed a licensing agreement with Microsoft to sell its android devices.

            CyanogenMod is a Mod aka ROM and not an OEM.

            MIUI is a ROM not an OEM.

            I think you are confusing distributing for free vs. injuring a party that owns intellectual property that is embedded in the so called “free” distro.

            Don’t you think that if Google could have charged for Android without getting sued in major ways, that they would have? :)

            There is a reason why Google does not make any money from “Android” directly, and there is a reason why they charge for their services that run on top of Android.

            Android is not free. Android simply doesn’t generate revenue to Google on its own and generates about $2 Billion a year to Microsoft from licensing fees.

          • freeman

            Really then show me a copy of the deal?

            What Amazon did, like many hardware and software companies do is sign a royalty deal.

            MIUI was created by and is distributed on by Xiaomi Tech. CyanogenMod has received investment and now the official software of Oppo and soon to be others. Either way both pieces of software are provided to as equipment third parties. This makes them OEMs.

            Either way both OEMs’ distribute their software for free.

            The problem you have is the same problem that Microsoft have traditionally had. They are unable to comprehend how giving software away for free to make money is a good thing. You should try telling Samsung that Android does not generate revenue, or Googles over $1000 a share stockholders it doesn’t generate revenue. They would laugh in your face.

          • grs_dev
          • freeman

            Cyanogen is a bloody company that has raised over $30 million dollars investment to produce software for at least one third party Oppo.

            MIUI is software from Xiaomi Tech. Your just ROMS is aa red herring. Windows phone 8 by that standard is just a ROM. Complete and utter garbage.

            Look Android is free to run, copy, change, distribute, study and improve. You don’t have to take any of Google’s or Amazons services. I can go get the source code now, modify it, build and put it on my phone with no third party software if I wish. No money for any company. That’s the very definition of free software.

          • grs_dev

            Hey moron.

            Cyanogen is not manufacturing any phones. Oppo will have to bear the brunt of licensing the patents that Android violates, if they decide to enter the market with an Android based device, not Cyanogen. Again. It’s becoming hectic trying to educate you here.

            Look, the minute you try to monetize your Android on a device that remotely resembles a personal computing device for profitable enterprise purposes, you will understand how expensive Android becomes real quick. Google continues to skirt the Android patent licensing model because Motorola is its arm fighting the patent wars and it’s losing it in a major way.

            Your thick skull is clearly failing to understand the difference between personal use and commercial use.

            I think you need to raise your level of intellect a little and come back when you have something meaningful to share. Until then have a nice holiday.

          • grs_dev

            a) Microsoft lists IE under the operating systems technologies

            b) IE integrated into Windows did not impede other browsers from running onto the Windows Operating System.

            c) Microsoft’s concern with the browser wars or the war ti waged on Java was actually a defensive stance it took to ensure that Java apps on Windows remained consistent with Windows UI/UX guidelines. Initially sun with Java was promoting the concept of compile once and run anywhere (which never took off btw) and to combat that idiocy Microsoft insisted that Windows applications should look like Windows applications regardless of what language or runtime they were written in or relied on.

            d) Microsoft never forced any OEM to send back info even if it was to “improve the experience”. Users had to always individually opt in. Google auto opts everyone in.

          • freeman

            a) “Microsoft lists IE under the operating systems technologies”

            That’s the problem.problem the EU commission had when it stated “Microsoft’s tying of Internet Explorer to the Windows operating system harms competition between web browsers, undermines product innovation and ultimately reduces consumer choice.”.

            b) Though no other browser could integrate into windows the way IE does.

            c) Garbage, This statement is crazy and shows severe lack of understanding. For example if Microsoft enforced design guidelines 90% of windows applications would be banned. As for Java since over 50% of software created globally is written in Java I call BS.

            d) Gone on then name the OEM in question?

          • grs_dev

            a) To Microsoft, IE is an operating system, and not part of an operating system. In their developer network they list IE as an operating system not a component of Windows.
            The DOJ and EU fielded complaints from Sun and Netscape that claimed that Microsoft was deliberately preventing other technologies such as the Java Run Time Environment and the Netscape browser from functioning as designed by their tampering with the low level calls without explicitly documenting them or sharing these Windows OS level changes in a manner that allowed competing products such as the 2 I mentioned to function let alone compete.
            b) Netscape had no desire to integrate into Windows the way IE did period. Mozilla today still does not integrate into Windows and leverage zero Microsoft technologies in their ingredients. The same goes for Chrome. Opera for a brief while adopted IE as a container but have since moved away again.
            c) I guess you do no understand what transpired. Microsoft insisted that Java applications and applets that run on Windows maintain the Windows look and feel. This is not my opinion. I am not sure where you’re getting your 90% of windows apps would be banned from. Java is 50% of software written global “on the server” not on desktop. So yeah I guess you are full of BS.
            d) I don’t understand your question but my point was that unlike Google, Microsoft never forced or required and OEM to put the “Send data back to Microsoft feature” to the ON position at the time of shipping a PC. Google does syphon data back from each Android and Chromebook unit and it ships with the syphon in the ON position by default.

          • freeman

            a) Really do you know what an OS is? Maybe you could tell me which of the IE COM dlls is the IE OS kernel. I just can’t stop laughing at this. In the US v Microsoft case Microsoft admitted that removing IE completely would cause stability problems. Not only does Windows ship with IE installed it cannot be removed as many other programs and windows itself have dependencies on it. All Microsoft do is not install parts of it mainly the UI.

            b) This is just BS. The EC was responding to a complaint from Opera that Microsoft where unfairly using windows as a distribution method for IE. If it was about integration the EC would have made them remove it fully.


            Your Java didn’t comply with windows UI/UX guidelines is just made up nonsense. Your claim that Java was promoting the concept of compile once and run anywhere that didn’t take off shows a complete lake of understanding. You do know Java is compiled Just In Time (JIT) and its compiled every-time you run it. You also don’t know that only C is more widely used world wide as a programming language than Java. You will also know that Microsoft’s .net uses the same (JIT) technique. Clearly you do not know what your talking about.

            c) its just more nonsense. Go on prove it post links to a case like I have done.

            Java has always provided a mechanism for providing a look and feel for most platforms. Java swing has always provided a method of providing a windows look&feel on multiple versions of windows though also a Mac OS look and feel on the mac etc. The 90% point I make is most windows applications on windows do not follow any of Microsoft’s design guidelines. This just a further lack of understanding.

            d) I didn’t even think this part was worth responding too. Just another myth from fanbois not even Microsoft. On first start of Android this can be disabled. Google ask the question first time. It can then be changed at any point afterwards either on or off.

            So lets take a look at your Microsoft claim. I suppose you don’t know that Microsoft smart screen sends back data on every application you install on windows to Microsoft. Not only is it enabled on first install (no option on first run like Google do) but if you turn it off it periodically pops up a nag message to turn it back on.


          • grs_dev

            Wow where do I start! First of all. Freeman you’re all over the place. The Opera complaint is completely separate from the US DOJ case against Microsoft and was in fact thrown out because it had no merit. I will gladly explain to you what Opera’s complaints and claims were and where you are confused.
            As to whether I know what an operating system is my MQP was on Operating Systems and it covered VAX VMS UNIX5 Windows NT among others. If you’d like to review my work I’ll gladly point you in the right direction.
            Regarding Java being JIT compiled, you must be confused as to what JIT means. Java is an interpreted language. It’s JIT in the same way VB

          • freeman

            wow, I never read as many inaccuracies in one post.

            1) If IE can be uninstalled from windows or windows ships without it then provide a link where I can buy a version without MSHTML.dll please?

            2) If to Microsoft IE is an OS then provide a link. Don’t worry I have MSDN account. If you claim to know about an OS then tell me are Microsoft wrong if they believe IE is an OS. Yes ChromeOS is an OS, there is a hint in the name.

            3) If Java isn’t a JIT compiled language then why have Oracle listed it as such. If Java was a compile once language as you claim

            4) If Microsoft where worried about UI/UX in regards to Java, then why to they build RNI to replace JNI considering it has no GUI.

            5) Why would a Memorandum of the United States in Support of Motion for Preliminary Injunction in the case of United States of America vs. Microsoft claim

            ‘In short, Microsoft feared and sought to impede the development of network effects that cross-platform technology like Netscape Navigator and Java might enjoy and use to challenge Microsoft’s monopoly. Another internal Microsoft document indicates that the plan was not simply to blunt Java/browser cross-platform momentum, but to destroy the cross-platform threat entirely, with the “Strategic Objective” described as to “Kill cross-platform Java by grow[ing] the polluted Java market’


            Why would after Micorsoft claimed its Java 1.1 implementation was compliant which failed the compliance test, Alan Baratz say

            “Microsoft embarked on a deliberate course of conduct to fragment Java”

            6) First Android doesn’t track anything Google services running on Android do. On Windows 8 Smart Screen is activated by default and most users are unaware of its existence. There is no opt in or opt out, no notification detail, scope level anything.

            On first use of any Google service you are prompted with details on scope/access and an opt in dialog.

            7) “You are correct, you have to accept to send data back upon activating an Android device” this is a lie, quote where said you have to accept to send data back upon activating.

            Considering, you don’t have to activate Android. Considering Amazon etc release Android without any Google service. Show me any screen that shows Android being actived.

      • UMovies

        yea im force to use a google phone right now and it has two browser both by Google and all sorts of stuff from Google that i cant uninstall, its get viruses I feel like im on windows 95

  • Nham Thien Duong

    This is really sad :-(
    He actually helped make Microsoft more competitive against Scroogle.

  • kevin

    If he’s gone to scroogle , MS better get that Patent hunting search Dog they share with Apple to keep an Eye on whatever projects he is doing at that company now and in the future .

  • bedae

    MS doesn’t care no more about its’ developers. Treats them as just another corporate slaves.

    It’s been like that since Ballmer became CEO.

    • Joe_HTH

      Yeah, I’m sure you have a friggin’ clue what the hell you’re talking about.

    • James

      Um,. Microsoft is one of the biggest companies that’s HUGE on developers. The amount of budget the Developer & Student teams have compared to the other teams is insane and they have an amazing support network. It’s only gotten bigger since Ballmer joined as CEO. You obviously have no idea what you’re talking about.

  • rd

    Ms just got scroogled

    • reKitab


  • Marco Gomes

    Another traitor selling himself to the highest bidder. Nothing new here.

    • grs_dev

      LOL really?! So you’re saying if you got a better job offer from an employer who competes with your current boss today, you’d turn it down out of sheer loyalty to the lesser paying job? Get a grip. This is the man’s livelihood. Microsoft clearly didn’t resist his move enough to change his mind, so the 2 entities in this case, Blaise, and Microsoft must have reached an amicable point of severance.

    • edjez

      Traitor to what? Creative and capable individuals will gravitate to where they feel they have the most impact. Anything else is being traitors to themselves. He even had the integrity and decency to say how good MS had been to him.

  • RoadOfMajor

    As much as I love MS products, and dislike Android, I am not surprised or saddened by this news at all. I’ve been a big fan of Blaise ever since he first presented PhotoSynth years ago and I occasionally read his personal website.

    The fact is.. working at MS sucks, especially in the Bing department. I know people who worked there and left. These days, the Bing team is run by a bunch of Chinese guys with PhD’s who think they are know-it-all’s, scrutinize the sh*t out of employees, and there is generally too much politics that prohibit creativity.

    I support Blaise’s decision. I’m sure he’s not motivated by money (he isn’t the type of guy) and even then, I’m sure MS could have countered Google’s offer. At the end of the day, I think the decision came down to which workplace would make him happier, and it certainly wouldn’t be MS.

    • SategB

      Good post, very good point that with this level of skill, it is not about the money.

      • grs_dev

        At his level it’s about politics and yes it’s about money. Not necessarily the $ that ends up directly in his pocket but the money that Microsoft sends his way or the way of his department. So yes it’s about clout and money not about some unicorn mythical higher cause. Don’t kid yourself…

        • SategB

          No you made my point. It is not about money, it is about support, resources, and the ability to set your own agenda. When your as skilled as this chap is paychecks are an after thought. To you those values may seem like chasing Unicorns but those who live in this rarified air, those are the things that matter.

    • grs_dev

      Unless the man comes out and says he was motivated by philosophical differences I strongly urge you to not make such juvenile statements. I don’t care if you know Ballmer or Blaise himself. You never worked there. You don’t know what it’s like to work there. If you did then please share your first hand experiences otherwise you’re not adding any value by giving us 3rd party perspectives which we all have already plenty of.

  • grs_dev

    Great mind. I am sure there will be others like him born out of Microsoft Research. I think Microsoft is light years ahead of Google and others in this department. I wouldn’t be surprised if his departure allows a lesser known engineer/scientist at Microsoft to emerge and fill this spot.

    • SategB

      True MSFT spends a good deal of money on R&D but historically they have done a poor job commercializing it into product.

  • SategB

    Ballmer announces a corporate restructuring, then he announces his leaving, followed by the best and brightest who are able to see a train wreck coming starts the exodus. When will the folly end?

  • tomakali

    Microsoft should opensource WP8,WP9 to revolutionize W10

    Also W9 should become a hybrid of W7 and W8 for increase in productivity

    • grs_dev

      I am flagging this because it’s just too dumb of a post to ignore… It’s so dumb it reached a new stratosphere of dumbhood.

      • tomakali

        20years back Microsoft didnt have competitors 1/2 competition
        now there are bigger companies than Microsoft who can do anything… 1/100 competition
        in future Microsoft will become 1/10000 competition
        in such case… Microsoft has to fight the world to keep their domination with sensible game of thrones