Date
21 July 2017
Google said artificial intelligence is crucial to its vision of building a truly intelligent assistant that connects users to information. Photo: Bloomberg
Google said artificial intelligence is crucial to its vision of building a truly intelligent assistant that connects users to information. Photo: Bloomberg

Google search chief to be replaced by AI head

Google parent Alphabet Inc. said Amit Singhal, the longtime chief of its internet search business, will leave the company and be replaced by the head of the technology giant’s artificial intelligence business.

John Giannandrea, currently a vice president of engineering, will replace Singhal, a 15-year Google veteran, once he leaves on Feb. 26, Reuters reported.

“Search is stronger than ever, and will only get better in the hands of an outstanding set of senior leaders who are already running the show day-to-day,” Singhal wrote in a blog post.

The appointment of Giannandrea, who joined Google in 2010, underlines the growing importance Silicon Valley is attaching to artificial intelligence technology, the news agency said.

Giannandrea led Google’s machine learning efforts, applying the technology to products such as image recognition for Google Photos search and the smart reply for Google Inbox.

“Machine intelligence is crucial to our Search vision of building a truly intelligent assistant that connects our users to information and actions in the real world,” Google said in an emailed statement.

Meanwhile, Alphabet Inc said its self-driving car project will expand testing to Kirkland, Washington later this month, the third city where it is testing autonomous vehicles.

The company’s Google unit has conducted autonomous vehicle testing for six years in Mountain View, California, where it is based, and it expanded testing to Austin, Texas last summer.

Google said in a statement the move to northwest United States is partly to gain experience in “different driving environments, traffic patterns, and road conditions”.

Kirkland has significant seasonal rain that allows for wet weather testing, along with hills that will allow testing of sensors at different angles and elevations, Reuters said.

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