Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Apple Hires John Giannandrea

Jack Nicas and Cade Metz (Hacker News, MacRumors):

Apple has hired Google’s chief of search and artificial intelligence, John Giannandrea, a major coup in its bid to catch up to the artificial intelligence technology of its rivals.

Apple said on Tuesday that Mr. Giannandrea will run Apple’s “machine learning and A.I. strategy,” and become one of 16 executives who report directly to Apple’s chief executive, Timothy D. Cook.

I don’t know much about Giannandrea, but at least on paper this sounds like a great move. Of course, talent is not plug-and-play so we’ll have to see what happens. Some are already floating Giannandrea’s name as a possible successor as CEO. We also saw that with the hiring of Angela Ahrendts, which was also nearly universally praised, but four years later it’s not clear whether she’s succeeding as SVP of Retail.

John Gruber:

I think it’s important too that Giannandrea reports directly to Cook.

In other words, he should have the power to get things done, and this should take some of the load off of Craig Federighi. Back at Google, Giannandrea’s old position is being split into separate jobs for search (Ben Gomes) and AI (Jeff Dean).

See also: The Information.

Previously: What Went Wrong With Siri.

Update (2018-04-05): Samuel Axon:

Giannandrea joined Google in 2010 as part of the company's acquisition of Metaweb, the company behind Freebase, a community-driven database of data and information that was eventually leveraged to augment Google search results. He has also worked as Chief Technologist for Netscape, and he sits on the board of trustees for the SETI institute.

Update (2018-07-19): John Voorhees:

The Information reports that Tom Gruber, Apple’s head of the Siri Advanced Developments group, has retired to pursue personal interests including photography and ocean conservation. Gruber joined Apple as part of the company’s acquisition of Siri in 2010 along with his co-founders Dag Kittlaus and Adam Cheyer, who previously left Apple in 2011 and 2012 respectively. In addition to Gruber, The Information reports that Vipul Ved Prakash, Apple’s head of search, has left the company.

3 Comments RSS · Twitter

A bit worrisome that he doesn't actually seem to have a background in AI but is being hired to run AI. He did that at Google but it seems like he was more of a search guy who had some responsibility for AI dropped in his lap as well.

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