According to a report out of The Information today, John Giannandrea is stepping down from his role in the artificial intelligence arm of Google, in an AI shuffle that's happening right now. Giannandrea was the head of search and AI at Google. Giannandrea is going to be sticking with Google, however, despite stepping down. He plans to be "more hands on with technology". The Information is also quoting a former Google employee who was close to Giannandrea, who said that his passion is AI and research. Not so much running product teams, which is what he has been doing for the past two years. Giannandrea has been with Google since 2010 when it acquired MetaWeb Technologies.
This report also mentions that Google is doing a shuffle in its artificial intelligence portion of the company. It's not clear whether this shakeup is because of its AI division not working as well as Google wanted or not. Google is looking to bolster its AI division to help bring in more companies for its cloud service, as well as improving search and selling more mobile devices. Besides search, its cloud service is its most lucrative service, largely because it is serving larger companies, similar to what Amazon's AWS does. Google's CEO, Sundar Pichai, has said in the past that artificial intelligence is going to be important for Google to compete better, and it will be part of all of its products, somehow.
Giannandrea's role was so large that it takes two people to replace him. Ben Gomes will be taking over as vice president of search at Google. Gomes has been with Google since 2000 and had been running search engineering at Google. On the AI side, Jeff Dean will be taking over for Giannandrea. He had been leading the Google Brain team, and is now head of Google's AI unit. Dean will continue to lead the Google Brain team as well. He has also been with Google since 1999. So Google is replacing Giannandrea with two very experienced Googlers, and allowing him to go back to working hands on with the products, which is his passion according to former Googlers. Which could help create better products.