Tech

Apple hires former Google AI chief John Giannandrea

Apple hires former Google AI chief John Giannandrea

When news broke yesterday that Giannandrea was unexpectedly stepping down as Google's AI chief, he immediately became perhaps the most eligible tech executive on the market.

The NY Times reports he is going to head up machine learning and AI at Apple now, which is what he did mostly at Google.

As initially reported by The New York Times, Google's John Giannandrea will be joining Apple one day after he stepped down from his previous role.

Blogger and Apple commentator John Gruber said that Giannandrea's appointment may come to be regarded as "one of the most significant Apple executive hires ever".

Forum discussion at Twitter.

A machine learning expert, Giannandrea had joined Google in 2010 after the company acquired his startup Metaweb Technologies.

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As Alexa and Google Assistant hog the limelight with their intelligence, Apple finds itself on the back foot - especially after launching its HomePod smart speaker with a version of Siri inferior to that on iPhones and Macs. Facebook, Google, Amazon and Microsoft employ huge numbers of researchers working across a number of areas, who are also heavily involved in the wider global AI community.

Apple, which was quick to develop its voice-based digital assistant Siri, fell behind with no access to data, the research talent and resources to approach AI development with the same robustness as the rivals.

Apple has a very strict policy when it comes to the handling of personal data of its users. He took the role of senior vice president of Engineering from Amit Singhal in early 2016, signalling Google's emphasis on weaving ML and AI into Search.

Giannandrea's loss is unlikely to hinder Google's AI team who will now have Jeff Dean, a talented AI veteran and co-founder of Google Brain, at its head.

Lately, leading Silicon Valley companies have seen major shake-ups at higher level management, in the AI space.


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