Siri has some serious help on the way thanks to Apple’s latest major hire. The iPhone maker announced on Tuesday that it recruited Google’s former chief of search and artificial intelligence, John Giannandrea, to head up its A.I. efforts.
Apple CEO Tim Cook confirmed to The New York Times that Giannandrea is set run Apple’s machine learning and artificial intelligence as the category’s executive.
“Our technology must be infused with the values we all hold dear,” Cook said in a statement. “John shares our commitment to privacy and our thoughtful approach as we make computers even smarter and more personal.”
Poaching Giannandrea from Google could be the first step to elevating Apple’s signature voice assistant, which has long been seen as inferior to both Google Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa.
The news also comes on the heels of Apple’s release of HomePod, its smart music speaker, earlier this year. HomePod’s integration with Siri has been compared with competitors Amazon Echo and Google Home, but has been deemed inferior by critics as a result of Siri’s limited skills.
With Giannandrea having worked on some of Google’s flagship A.I. products, including Google Assistant, he may be able to help Apple finally catch up with its competitors. Coupled with the fact that Apple recently also hired Carnegie Mellon professor and A.I. expert Ruslan Salakhutdinov as its Director of A.I. Research, its commitment to improving its voice assistant and machine learning initiatives is clear.