After just seven months at Apple, robotics expert Yoky Matsuoka is rejoining Alphabet’s Nest as its chief technology officer. Matsuoka left Nest back in 2015 from her position as vice president of technology to join Twitter, only to decline the job to focus on overcoming her life-threatening illness.
At Nest, Matsuoka will use her robotics background to define roadmaps for the engineering and product teams, according to Bloomberg. She will also be responsible for finding ways for Nest to collaborate with third-party companies and other Alphabet businesses.
Matsuoka joined Apple in May 2016 to work on the company’s health initiatives, including HealthKit, CareKit, and ResearchKit. Her move to Apple was deemed part of the company’s significant investments to ramp up machine learning. In recent years, Apple had acquired a number of machine learning startups and at one point had up to 86 different job listings for AI experts. It is unclear why Matsuoka left Apple under a year in, but it’s a bad look for the company’s push on machine learning especially since it lost hundreds of members from its autonomous car team just two months prior to her departure.
Matsuoka’s decision to rejoin Nest, too, is peculiar; the company experienced its own bit of a shake up last year after long-time CEO Tony Fadell left the company back in June. Alphabet then shuffled developers from the Nest team into Google to work on its smart home platform after shutting down the Revolv hub. From a product standpoint, Nest also hasn’t released anything categorically new since it was bought by Google in 2014 (the Nest Cam and Nest Cam Outdoor seem more like adaptions of products from its acquired company Dropcam).
Nest is currently led by former Charter CTO Marwan Fawaz. Together, can they bring Nest back to its heyday?