Sundar Pichai now controls the important Google projects

Google’s Larry Page is handing over the keys to, well, not the kingdom, but a whole lot of strategic fiefdoms, to Sundar Pichai. Recode’s got the scoop.

The highly respected Pichai will now have purview over research, search, maps, Google+, commerce and ad products and infrastructure. And he will continue to keep his existing responsibility for Android, Chrome and Google Apps. The six executives in charge of newly added product areas, all of whom previously reported directly to Page, will now report to Pichai.

The move seems born of Page’s concern — which is not new — that Google will become less innovative as it ages. In a memo to staff, he noted that the changes will create less of a bottleneck and also help him focus his attention on existing and new products. That said, he’ll continue to directly manage business and operations, including access and energy (a new unit run by Craig Barratt), Nest, Calico, Google X, corporate development, legal, finance and business (including ad sales).

Pichai is behind Chrome’s rise, and manages Android too. Given the success, and the good reputation he’s got, this move seems like a good one.