Apple scores major coup by hiring Google's AI chief

05 April, 2018, 02:04 | Author: Bennie Parsons
  • Google Search and AI Chief Said to Step Down

Apple (AAPL) aims to catch-up in artificial intelligence as it has hired away the former head of AI and search technology from Google-parent Alphabet (GOOGL). Recently, it opened up more than 150 positions in its Siri team and nabbed some of the top talents in the field, including Carnegie Mellon professor Russ Salakhutdinov, who was trained by Google Brain lab chief Geoffrey Hinton.

While Apple has risen to become the world's most valuable publicly traded company on the back of the iPhone, many in the technology industry consider the iPhone's digital assistant, Siri, to be less effective than its counterparts at Google and Amazon. If he can apply that knowledge to Siri and other Apple offerings, his new employer could make a lot of progress in a reasonable amount of time.

Apple, although the pioneer of personal virtual assistants with the likes of Siri, now lacks access to data as well as research talent to succeed in AI development.

Wonder no more about the abrupt departure of Google's former head of artificial intelligence and search. The NYT report also says that Giannandrea will report directly to CEO Tim Cook as the leader of "machine learning and AI strategy". Google Assistant is far ahead when it comes to quality levels, as it uses the same algorithms that power Google Translate and Google Image search.


Giannandrea stepped down from Google yesterday after years of heading up teams in a directive role, where he rarely got a chance to actually get his hands dirty.

Many people were surprised when news broke that Giannandrea had left his post as Google's AI chief, but the decision makes sense now that we know he was intending to join Apple. There are surely more applications of machine learning planned in the future; Giannandrea would likely spearhead those efforts. The company is said to be working on a privacy feature with a new Apple ID tool that will allow users to download all their personal information.

Giannandrea joined Google in 2010 when it purchased Metaweb, a start-up where he served as chief technology officer. Apple has also partnered with other companies to bundle Siri support with their products and apps.

Meanwhile at Google, Jeff Dean will take over the entire AI unit at the company.

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