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Apple just poached Google’s AI lead

by Justin Herrick | April 4, 2018April 4, 2018 9:00 am PST

Artificial intelligence is a fast-growing field right now, and Apple doesn’t want to continue losing ground to Google. So it’s going after talent that helped integrate the technology into Search, Gmail, and Google Assistant. Apple’s biggest move yet is poaching the man who headed search and artificial intelligence at Google.

The company just hired John Giannandrea, who’s been with Google since 2010, to lead its efforts in artificial intelligence and machine learning. He’s already made the move to Cupertino, where Apple is based.

Here’s what Tim Cook told employees in an email, according to the New York Times:

“Our technology must be infused with the values we all hold dear. John shares our commitment to privacy and our thoughtful approach as we make computers smarter and more personal.”

Giannandrea joins a little more than a dozen executives who report directly to Cook. Having that type of access to the company’s chief executive officer should indicate how serious Apple is about artificial intelligence.

Apple’s been heavily criticized for Siri as of late. Its digital assistant is viewed as significantly inferior to Google Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa, both of which arrived after Siri in 2011. There’s some belief that development of Siri has been rushed and teams working on the digital assistant aren’t communicating effectively. Someone with as much experience as Giannandrea should be able to reorganize operations and set the product on a better path.

There are a number of Siri-related job openings at Apple, too. The company clearly isn’t giving up on its digital assistant nor is it getting complacent.

New York Times

Justin Herrick

Justin is easily attracted to power buttons. His interest in technology started as a child in the 1990s with the original PlayStation, and two...