Apple announced on Tuesday that John Giannandrea, Google’s former A.I. chief, would be joining the company as its newest head of machine learning and A.I. strategy.
Aside from running Apple’s highly secretive A.I. and machine learning division, reports also said that John Giannandrea would be one of the 16 executives that directly report to Timothy Cook, Apple’s chief executive.
Giannandrea joined Google in 2010 and served as the tech company’s senior vice president since 2016.
Hiring the former Google exec has been called a massive victory for Apple. For years, executives and analysts from the Silicon Valley have viewed the Steve Jobs-founded company as lagging behind when it comes to artificial intelligence.
“Our technology must be infused with the values we all hold dear,” Cook was quoted as saying. “John shares our commitment to privacy and our thoughtful approach as we make computers even smarter and more personal.”
To date, A.I. technology has been one of the most crucial innovations that allow modern computers and devices to manage more complex tasks like voice and facial recognition.
Giannandrea’s contribution to Google includes the development of the Ask Jeeves-style functionality that now enables Google search to provide more precise responses to user questions.
At Google, the ex-chief of A.I. will be replaced by Jeff Dean, a longtime Google employee, in the A.I. department, and by Ben Gomes, Google’s VP of Core Search. Giannandrea, who was called J.G. by his peers, will reportedly be working on improving Siri’s capabilities in the future.
This is not the first time that Apple made such high-profile hire. In 2016, the company was the talk of Silicon Valley when it hired Carnegie Mellon professor and CMU AI guru Russ Salakhutdinov as part of its efforts to lure more high-profile talent.