Apple Hires Google's Former AI Head John Giannandrea

Apple Hires Google's AI Chief

Already “AI first,” Google just decided to up the algorithmic ante

Now, though, Apple is looking to expand Siri's reach.

Giannandrea, who will be head of "machine learning and AI strategy", is an important addition to Apple's team, which has struggled to stay ahead in AI technology such as natural language processing and computer vision. Before that can happen, however, Giannandrea has quite a challenge on his hands. That's not going to be easy. Under his command, Google Brain, the company's main AI research team, has rebuilt the technology that underpins some of Google's landmark products, including search, translation and voice recognition. Last week, Windows' chief Terry Myerson departed after Microsoft announced that it would focus more on AI and the Cloud. Apple's smart speaker - the Homepod - has received mixed reviews since its launch past year, so Giannandrea's expertise is a major coup for the company.

Apple has received some criticism over the years for not implementing new features and for sticking with the same design for its flagship smartphones.

While Apple's hardware in this department has to be commended, its software and use of Siri is lacking - something Apple will want to fix for future iterations. It was during his tenure, when AI research became top priority inside Google.

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But Siri's biggest hurdle isn't with hardware, it's Apple's commitment to hyper-privacy. The move comes as an overall effort to enhance Siri that has been pointed out frequently for being "less-effective" than competitors like Amazon's Alexa and Google Assistant.

Interestingly, Apple's less than impressive progress in AI can be considered to be the result of its own data collection and privacy policies. As Apple explains: "If many people are submitting the same data, the noise that has been added can average out over large numbers of data points, and Apple can see meaningful information emerge".

Some Google employees have sent CEO Sundar Pichai a letter.

Amazon and Google lead on sales of smart home devices, though Apple still dominates the smartphone market.

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Giannandrea has been a stalwart proponent of the benefits of artificial intelligence in his limited interviews with the media. Rather, it's doubling down on it, as Cook would say.

Google bought Metaweb in 2010, which significantly bolstered Google's search engine by being able to provide direct answers at the top of the search. With this hire, Apple plans to make its AI platform much stronger, by using expertise from Giannandrea.

On Monday, Giannandrea stepped down from his position at Google.

Apple has built a lot of pieces for Siri.

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