Architect of Google Search Announces His Retirement

By Hardy, Quentin | International New York Times, February 5, 2016 | Go to article overview

Architect of Google Search Announces His Retirement


Hardy, Quentin, International New York Times


Amit Singhal, an early rewriter of Google's breakthrough algorithms, said he would leave the parent company, Alphabet, on Feb. 26.

Alphabet, the parent of Google, is losing one of its most influential engineers, but his successor's background is indicative of how important artificial intelligence technology is becoming to the Silicon Valley company.

Amit Singhal, the senior vice president for search, and one of the earliest builders of Google's global system, announced that he would retire on Feb. 26. He has been involved with many of the technologies that have made Alphabet an engineering powerhouse and one of the world's most valuable companies.

His replacement, John Giannandrea, currently works in artificial intelligence, or A.I., at Alphabet. A.I. has been increasingly important to Google and other companies like Amazon, as they seek to build products that can do things like respond to voice commands, deliver complex alerts about changes to a user's schedule, or drive a car.

In a post to the Google Plus social network, Mr. Singhal indicated that he wished to spend time with his family and intended to give away some of his fortune. "It has always been a priority for me to give back to people who are less fortunate, and make time for my family," he wrote.

Mr. Singhal, 48, joined Google in 2000 as employee No. 176. A native of India, he has a doctorate in computer science from Cornell and worked at AT&T Labs before Google. One of his earliest jobs at Google was rewriting the initial breakthrough algorithms developed by Google's co-founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin.

Google was one of many search engines, but it distinguished itself both in the quality of its results and in building features like spell-check, which could offer correct answers to misspelled queries. …

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