Amit Singhal, a 15-year Google veteran and head of Google Search, is leaving the company.
Singhal has often said his life’s mission was to get Google ever closer to “the Star Trek computer.” His dream is to allow people to ask their computers and phones questions in natural language, and have the phone immediately understand and spit back the answer.
We’re not quite there yet, but we’re remarkably close. Google Now, Siri, Alexa, Cortana and any number of digital assistants let you ask conversational questions and get the answer spoken back to you.
As head of Google’s search business, Singhal spearheaded Google’s efforts to get closer to that mission. He oversaw the development of technologies that recognize, for example, when you’re asking for images of former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice instead of a bowl of rice. Or provide you weather information rather than 10 blue links to weather sites.
“My dream Star Trek computer is becoming a reality, and it is far better than what I ever imagined,” Singhal wrote in a Google+ post announcing his next endeavors.
Singhal said he wants to spend more time with his family and make an impact through philanthropy.
“I love Google.” he said. “I look back at my time here with a profound sense of gratitude that I was a part of building this.”
Singhal will leave at the end of February, and AI Chief John Giannandrea will move to head up Search.