Google has lost the services of Adam Bosworth, a vice president of engineering who was in charge of the company's Google Health project, focused on helping people research medicines, illnesses, treatments and related healthcare topics.
"Adam is a great talent and was instrumental in starting Google Health. He is now on vacation and has decided to pursue other opportunities after that," Google spokesman Steve Langdon said.
Marissa Mayer, vice president of search products and user experience, will step in to oversee the Google Health team on an interim basis until a permanent replacement for Bosworth is found.
His departure will not detract from the company's efforts in the health space, the company said. "Google is moving forward with work on our health products," Langdon wrote.
Google Health hasn't yet yielded a specific service or product. However, in August, The New York Times reported that Google has shown a Google Health prototype to health professionals.
According to the Times, the Google Health prototype is geared at consumers and designed to let people create a health profile for themselves that includes information about medications and conditions. Google Health also features a "health guide" with suggested treatments and drug interaction warnings, pages with health-related reminders and health provider directories, the Times reported.
Google has given regular updates about the Google Health efforts. In March, Bosworth authored a blog post in which he outlined a series of issues and concerns related to finding and trusting health information on the Internet.
"There is a lot of material out there about drugs, diseases, procedures, and treatments. How do you know what is trustworthy and what isn’t? Search is great at finding us places with relevant information, but it is hard to know which links are reliable and which are less so. Honestly, this is a hard problem," he wrote.
In June, Google announced the formation of the Google Health Advisory Council. In that blog posting, a Google official explained: "We want to help users make more empowered and informed healthcare decisions, and have been steadily developing our ability to make our search results more medically relevant and more helpful to users."
Bosworth was BEA Systems' chief architect and senior vice president of advanced development when he joined Google in July 2004 in what was at the time seen as a recruitment coup for the search company.
Bosworth arrived at BEA in 2001 when BEA bought Crossgain, a company he co-founded. Prior to founding Crossgain, Bosworth worked at Microsoft as a senior manager, and managed Microsoft's XML program between 1997 and 1999.
Bosworth's departure follows the announcement in late August that Google's CFO, George Reyes, will retire from the company by the end of the year.