After a decade with the company, one of Google's lead designers has left to join the team at Dropbox. Nicholas Jitkoff announced his departure via Twitter on January 7th, with thanks to Google and its employees for a "wonderful ten years." Shortly after his tweet was posted, an announcement from Dropbox was posted on the company's blog welcoming Jitkoff to the team as Vice President of Design.
Jitkoff started working at Google in 2006, where he was a user experience lead and played a role in the company's efforts to create a consistent experience across all of its platforms and services. In 2011, he moved into a position leading in the creation and implementation of Google's Material Design standards. Jitkoff is considered by many to be one of only a few key figures who is responsible for really getting that standard going, among others such as Matias Duarte. Material Design is, of course, the near flat design standard used across several of the company's offerings. It brings the experience of using any of those a level of consistency that has since become a hallmark of Google products, with the standard still being steadily brought to each platform the company operates on. As one of the tech industry's leaders in design language and unification, picking up Jitkoff as VP of Design is a great move for Dropbox. Dropbox has said that the multidisciplinary will now be leading the company's design team to define "their vision for Dropbox" in its continuing goal to unify its own products across several platforms. The company has also said that he will be building and growing the diverse design team at Dropbox with to cover multiple areas like UX Writing and Design Research, as well Product Design and Brand Design.
Dropbox is a direct competitor to Google in several ways. In fact, the company has been competing directly with Google in the cloud backup and storage arena since Google Drive officially launched in 2012 – Dropbox launched its service in 2008. More recently, Dropbox has launched its own competitor to Google Docs in the form of Dropbox Paper, which even allows documents to be imported from competing services. However, Jitkoff's departure appears to have happened on the best of terms and without any visible controversy. If anything is certain it is that Google's Material Design standard will live on and improve. Meanwhile, Dropbox is also likely to see some substantial improvement to both its user experience and its associated user interface.