Google appoints new AI chief in reshuffle at the top

Google has appointed veteran programmer Jeff Dean to head up the company’s artificial intelligence unit.

The move is part of a reshuffle at Google, first reported by The Information, that’s seems designed to push AI into more of the company’s products. Previously, AI product development was overseen along with search by senior vice president of engineering, John Giannandrea. 

Appointed in early 2016, Giannandrea served as senior vice president of engineering and joined Google in 2010 following the acquisition of Metaweb Technologies. However, his role is now being split into two, with Dean taking over AI, and fellow long-term Google servant Ben Gomes leading the development of search.

One of Google’s earliest employees, Dean has helped develop some of the fundamental technologies that saw Google rise during the early noughties. By breaking AI off as its own unit, it would appear that Google wants to infuse the technology into more practical parts of its business.

Dean’s own experience in AI is extensive having previously co-founded the Google Brain team. He will continue to head up that team which focuses on deep learning and is adopted in everything from self-driving cars to medical analysis. Dean has also been heavily involved with the development of Google’s machine learning operation TensorFlow. 

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