A Top Google Executive Is Leaving For Apple

Eric Lieberman | Associate Editor

Apple has poached a top executive from Google in order to bolster its artificial intelligence (A.I.) projects, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

Considered a highly desired executive, especially as A.I. seems to steadily grow in prevalence and importance, John Giannandrea will help spearhead Apple’s machine learning and A.I. strategy. He is set to be one of 16 higher ups who work directly under Apple CEO Tim Cook, according to The NYT.

“Our technology must be infused with the values we all hold dear,” Cook said in an email to staff, which The NYT obtained. “John shares our commitment to privacy and our thoughtful approach as we make computers even smarter and more personal.”

Giannandrea will be tasked with improving Siri, the iPhone’s digital assistant that seems to have grown less popular as competitors create proprietary devices that can do the same, if not more. After all, using its already established Siri technology, Apple introduced HomePod in June 2016 to vie for its stake in the increasingly crowded smart speaker market.

Giannandrea was one of the more well-known Google executives, having helped integrate A.I. into a slate of Google’s products and services — Gmail, search and others. (RELATED: Killer Robot Fears Are ‘Unwarranted And Irresponsible,’ Says Google Exec Giannandrea)

“He’s an OG Valley technology visionary,” Marc Andreessen, who co-founded Netscape where Giannandrea worked several years ago, once told Recode.

“[He’s] always on the leading edge; [I] always learn new things when I talk to him,” Andreessen continued, adding at the time of Giannandrea’s ascension to head of search, it was “great news for Google.”

Apple — which some argue has been lagging behind other tech companies like Google and Facebook in A.I. development — seems to think it has acquired the creative and intellectual boost it needed.

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