All Things D is reporting that Matias Duarte, Palm's Senior Director of Human Interface and User Experience and the lead designer behind the beautiful WebOS UI, is leaving the recently-acquired company for a new post at Google as Android's User Experience Director.

It'll be interesting to see how the WebOS wizard fits in at Google, a company whose UI design tends toward the functional, as opposed to the functional and beautiful. When Google's Visual Design Leader Douglas Bowman left last year, he shed some light on the company's design dynamic:

When a company is filled with engineers, it turns to engineering to solve problems. Reduce each decision to a simple logic problem. Remove all subjectivity and just look at the data...And that data eventually becomes a crutch for every decision, paralyzing the company and preventing it from making any daring design decisions.

One such example: testing 41 shades of blue for Google toolbars.

Still, Google TV appears to be one of the company's most polished designs to date, and Duarte could be instrumental in helping usher Google out of the age of design-by-engineer. Let's hope so, anyway. [All Things D]