Amit Singhal, who has led technology giant Google’s Internet search business for more than a decade, announced in a blog post he is stepping down. A 2006 Google Fellow for his engineering work on the early search engine, Singhal has been a staple at Google for 15 years. The Indian American executive will step down Feb. 26 and will be replaced by John Giannandrea, currently a vice president of engineering of Google’s artificial intelligence business.
“When I started, who would have imagined that in a short period of fifteen years, we would tap a button, ask Google anything and get the answer,” he was quoted to have said. “Today, it has become second nature to us. My dream Star Trek computer is becoming a reality, and it is far better than what I ever imagined.”
Among the achievements Singhal accomplished in his time with Google was leading the push for the company to improve its mobile-based search results. In his Feb. 3 blog post on Google Plus, Singhal wrote, “Search is stronger than ever, and will only get better in the hands of an outstanding set of senior leaders who are already running the show day-to-day.”
The post, titled, “The Journey Continues…,” went on to say how his life has been a dream journey. “From a little boy growing up in the Himalayas dreaming of the Star Trek computer, to an immigrant who came to the United States with two suitcases and not much else, to the person responsible for Search at Google, every turn has enriched me and made me a better person.”
His work at Google filled him with pride, he added, with Search transforming people’s lives. “Over a billion people rely on us,” he wrote. “Our mission of empowering people with information and the impact it has had on this world cannot be overstated. When I started, who would have imagined that in a short period of fifteen years, we would tap a button, ask Google anything and get the answer,” he went on. “Today, it has become second nature to us. My dream Star Trek computer is becoming a reality, and it is far better than what I ever imagined.”
With the move to Giannandrea, who joined the tech giant in 2010, Google will merge its research efforts with Search. Singhal’s replacement led Google’s machine learning efforts, applying the technology to products such as image recognition for Google Photos search and the smart reply for Google Inbox.
“Machine intelligence is crucial to our Search vision of building a truly intelligent assistant that connects our users to information and actions in the real world,” Google said. Singhal wasn’t specific as to what he planned on doing upon his retirement from Google, but added that, when asked what he plans to do for the next 15 years of his life, “The answer has overwhelmingly been: give back to others.”
“It has always been a priority for me to give back to people who are less fortunate, and make time for my family amidst competing work constraints,” he added. “But on both fronts, I simply want to give and do more.”