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Apple today hired John Giannandrea, who was until recently in charge of Google’s search and AI departments. Giannandrea had been at Google since 2010, according to his LinkedIn profile, and in 2016 he began to head up Google’s search team.
Giannandrea’s departure from his role as Google’s AI chief was confirmed Tuesday. A Google spokesperson told TechCrunch that Giannandrea stepped down to “get more hands-on time with technology, and our understanding is that he will stay at Google.” Giannandrea will be one of 16 Apple executives who report directly to Tim Cook, according to the New York Times.
In his work heading up Apple’s machine learning and AI strategy, Giannandrea will influence products like Core ML for iOS app developers and the dedicated AI chip reportedly under development, as well as the struggling Siri assistant. Apple is currently looking to hire more than 150 people to staff its Siri team, a recruiting boom that did not go unnoticed.
While at Google, Giannandrea oversaw the implementation of more AI-powered features for its Gmail, search engine, and virtual assistant offerings as the company began to market itself as an “AI-first” company.
Giannandrea’s departure is the latest high-profile shakeup among Silicon Valley tech giants in the AI arena.
In a change that led to the departure of Windows chief Terry Myerson, last week Microsoft announced plans to focus more on its cloud and AI services. Last month, Alexa’s head AI researcher, Ashwin Ram, left Amazon to become the technical director of AI at Google.
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