Four years after Apple’s acquisition of start-up Laserlike, its founders quit to return to work at Google – before founding their own company, Anand Shukla, Srinivasan Venkatachary and Steven Baker were employees of the search giant.
Apple acquired Laserlike in 2018, although the deal wasn’t announced until a year later and its three founders have led Apple’s 200-person search department. Venkatachari has now returned to Google to take on the role of VP of Engineering, reporting to James Manyika, SVP of Technology and Public Affairs. The information citing an anonymous source. Baker and Shukla are now on Manika’s team as well, but it’s not clear if they left Apple at the same time or separately. The source also claims that Apple will launch its own search service in four years.
Rumors of Apple’s plans to create its own web search service intensified with the release of iOS 14 – then Siri started serving queries through the Apple Spotlight search service rather than Google. Such projects are traditionally accompanied by transfers of specialists from one company to another: in 2018, with the acquisition of Laserlike, Apple poached John Giannandrea, who headed the machine learning department at Google. He is currently Apple’s Senior Vice President of Machine Learning and AI Strategy.