Google Now is facing problems and report says it is Sundar Pichai's fault

Microsoft recently did a Google when it introduced a new feature in its Bing search app that allows other apps to tap into its information framework. Basically, the update lets users use Binge while accessing other apps sifting out relevant information that one is looking for with just a tap.

Good thing for Microsoft, it pushed out the feature well ahead of Google. Adding salt to the wound is it pushed out the update for Android first.

All this while Google has been looking at Microsoft, straight faced, wondering what just happened. After all, Google teased the feature it calls 'Now on Tap' first at its I/O developer conference in May. Now on Tap does things similar, but Google is yet to make it live. Microsoft's 'similar' feature is already out and kicking.

Google-Microsoft rivalry is a long unsettling one; however, the issue at hand goes deeper still, indicating how things are inside the Mountain View company and the state of affairs ala Google Now.

Google Now is considered a golden child of co-founder and outgoing CEO Larry Page. But, it's in shambles as we speak, and apparently incoming CEO Sundar Pichai is to be given a part of the blame for this.

According to reports, most of the original team that built Now - launched in 2012 - had called it quits just before I/0. The reason being they were not too happy about Google non-prioritising something that Page once envisaged as the 'future' of the company. Many were unhappy that the product that originated within Android was sidelined to search: something that is slowly losing steam thanks to increased mobile usage (and cost-per-click going down).

Sundar Pichai, who earlier led the product management and innovation efforts for Chrome and Android among others "did not prioritise the product as much as Page," says a new Recode report.
Pichai is largely known as "an executive who seeks consensus rather than conflict". This meant that he gave in to Amit Singhal's (SVP, search) request that Now be moved from Android into his division, adds the report.

The move was criticised by majority of engineers at Now who said that the product worked best inside the operating system, and pushing it to search may not be the best choice.

However, Chrome and Android were Pichai's top priorities and Now apparently Now did not fit in to his greater scheme of things.

Now that Pichai is CEO at Google, he must set his priorities straight. While Chrome and Android may continue to taste sweet success, search is clearly not. The fact that Microsoft (and Apple) are picking up steam means Google has to act fast.

Now is said to have a solid user base (over hundred million monthly) and cannot be taken for granted. Aparna Chennapragada, the new product lead at Now seemed very excited while demoing the new Now on Tap feature at I/0. Also she is seen as someone who envisages a healthy future for it (in a way Page did), however she will need Pichai's backing, now more than ever.