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Lyft has hired the head of Google Street View to lead its mapping team

Luc Vincent, Lyft’s new vice president of engineering, is leaving Google after 12 years.

Luc Vincent, Lyft’s new vice president of engineering

Lyft, last valued at $5.5 billion, is bolstering its engineering team with a splashy hire. The ride-hail company poached Luc Vincent, known as the founder of Google’s Street View team, to be its newest vice president of engineering.

Vincent, who was at Google for 12 years, will be leading the company’s mapping and marketplace teams and will report to Peter Morelli, whose title is also vice president of engineering.

Vincent’s initial focus will be on improving the real-time mapping information on the Lyft app, Vincent told Recode, but he said he sees himself eventually contributing to the company’s autonomous efforts. High-definition maps are a crucial aspect of any autonomous system and make it possible for the vehicle to navigate and drive itself.

The Google veteran will also be working on improving the efficiency of the algorithms that determine rider and driver matching as well as routing — both features that depend heavily on real-time mapping information.

Lyft expects to continue to see incredible growth in terms of its physical footprint and the size of its staff. The company, which recently expanded into 40 new cities in the U.S., has gotten three times bigger in terms of its personnel in 2016.

In his first year, Vincent expects to continue that trend and significantly scale up the company’s engineering team.

Vincent’s hire comes at a critical time for Lyft.

In the wake of sweeping calls to delete Uber for what some perceived as the company’s attempt to profit off the backs of protesting taxi drivers, the ride-hail company saw an influx of new users. Lyft wouldn’t disclose any numbers, but the app soared to the top 10 most-downloaded apps in the app store last week, beating Uber for the first time.

For further context, sources say there were upward of 200,000 Uber accounts deleted last week — though the company saw almost as many new accounts added.

While it’s certainly a boon for the younger ride-hail player, the challenge for Lyft is to retain those riders. Improving the efficiency of its maps, routing and matching are all means to enhance that rider experience and maintain its new wave of users.

Lyft isn’t alone in scouring Google Maps for a head of its rider and driver marketplace. In 2015, Uber hired Daniel Graf — he was the senior director of Google Maps from 2012 to 2014 — to lead its marketplace team.

Correction: Vincent will report to Morelli, while Morelli reports to co-founder Logan Green. A previous version of this article stated Morelli and Vincent reported to Lyft’s CTO Chris Lambert.

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