Google Search Master Amit Singhal Retires After 15 Years, AI Exec John Giannandrea Fills His Shoes

Google is losing one of its top lieutenants that's been there since it was just a small startup. His name is Amit Singhal, Senior Vice President of Search, and during his 15 years at Google, he played a critical role in transforming Google's search engine and ranking system through intelligent algorithms.

This is a monumental loss for Google, though for Singhal, the decision to move on after a decade and a half was a necessary one. He helped make Google into what it is today, and in return, Google made him a wealthy man, turning an "immigrant who came to the United States with two suitcases and not much else" into an "enriched" and "better person" who's now in a position to pursue charitable causes.

Amit Singhal

"As I entered the fifteenth year of working at Google, I've been asking myself the question, 'What would you want to do for the next fifteen?' The answer has overwhelmingly been: give back to others," Singhal explains in a Google+ post. "It has always been a priority for me to give back to people who are less fortunate, and make time for my family amid competing work constraints--but on both fronts, I simply want to give and do more."

Call it the Bill Gates syndrome, if you will, where once you achieve you initial goals with aplomb and never have to worry about money again, you turn your efforts towards philanthropy. Like Gates, Singhal is in a position to make a real impact on whichever causes he chooses, and though he'll miss his time at Google—and make no mistake about it, this sentimental fellow leaves his job with nothing but fond memories and gratitude—he's ready to define his next 15 years through philanthropy.

Singhal leaves big shoes to fill, and Google will attempt to stuff them with John Giannandrea, who's involved with artificial intelligence for Google. Giannandrea joined Google when it acquired Metaweb Technologies in 2010 and in the past six years he's been implementing machine learning capabilities into different Google products, such as image recognition in Google Photos. He also helped developed RankBrain, a machine-learning AI algorithm that's been in use by Google since October of last year.