Google splits search and AI operations as ex-division chief joins Apple to reboot Siri

Originally released way back in 2011, Siri hasn’t been able to evolve at a similar pace as younger rivals Cortana, Alexa and the 2016-debuted Google Assistant. We’re hardly the only ones saying that, and Apple’s current leadership seems to know it too, moving fast to turn things around while the AI industry is still in its nascent stage.

The Cupertino-based tech titan is looking to go on a hiring spree to substantially improve the capabilities and intuition of its veteran digital personal assistant, but first, a visionary new division head is needed to devise a growth strategy. Enter John Giannandrea, who dropped out of his SVP position at Google earlier this same week.

When news broke of Giannandrea’s resignation from a very high-profile job at the world’s top online search company, the reasons behind the decision weren’t immediately clear. For its part, Google filled the leadership vacuum without delay or hesitancy, suggesting the exit had been a while in the making.

Two talented and experienced engineers will split Giannandrea’s old duties as commander of Mountain View’s search and AI operations. VP of Core Search Ben Gomes is looking at a promotion in the former department, whereas artificial intelligence is getting its own separate unit, to be managed by renowned computer scientist Jeff Dean, who’s been with Google for nearly two decades now.

Meanwhile, Apple has confirmed John Giannandrea’s recruitment as supervisor of the company’s “machine learning and A.I. strategy”, reporting directly to CEO Tim Cook, along with only 15 other top executives. The Scotland native and Metaweb co-founder, who supplied the underlying technology of Google’s Knowledge Graph before leading the search and machine learning teams, apparently shares Apple’s “commitment to privacy” and its “thoughtful approach as we make computers even smarter and more personal.” Translation – he will do his absolute best to improve Siri’s communication skills and Apple’s AI efforts as a whole without violating users’ privacy… too much.

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About The Author
Adrian Diaconescu
Adrian has had an insatiable passion for writing since he was in school and found himself writing philosophical essays about the meaning of life and the differences between light and dark beer. Later, he realized this was pretty much his only marketable skill, so he first created a personal blog (in Romanian) and then discovered his true calling, which is writing about all things tech (in English).