Google's head of search and AI to step down

When John Giannandrea leaves his post, oversight of search and AI will fall to two different people.

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John Giannandrea, the head of Google's critical search and artificial intelligence unit, is stepping down, Google confirmed to ZDNet.

When John Giannandrea leaves his post, oversight of search and AI will fall to two different people, as The Information first reported. The leadership shuffle is the latest indication of the growing importance of AI at Google.

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Ben Gomes, currently VP of search engineering, will run the search division. Gomes has been at Google since 2000 and brings deep knowledge and expertise in search with him. Meanwhile, Jeff Dean, a leader of the Google Brain project, will run the AI division.

Google began merging artificial intelligence and search, under Giannandrea's leadership, about two years ago. Since then, Google has said that all of its products should take an "AI-first" approach.

Giannandrea will remain at Google and looks forward to being more hands on with technology, a company spokesperson said.