Apple set to smarten up Siri with some help from Google

Siri is no longer just a voice assistant for the iPhone. It's expanded its remit to everything from cars to the Apple HomePod. Because of this it's outgrown its original use and, compared to other smart assistants, is starting to feel the pressure. 

This may all be set to change, however, with Apple's latest big move to hire the head of AI at Google

According to the New York Times, it has snapped up John Giannandrea who has been working at Google since 2010, most recently as a vice president of its search division. 

The move will see Giannandrea head up Apple's AI and machine learning division, where he will report directly into CEO Tim Cook. As for what is happening at Google, the role that has been left has been split into two. 

Jeff Dean, who heads up Google Brain, Google's AI research team, will run the AI side of things while Ben Gomes, the VP of search engineering, will now lead search. Both of these are veterans of the company, so are no strangers to the divisions they are taking on.

AI first

Google has rejuvenated its business with AI smarts. The last few years, under the tutelage of Sundar Pichai, its motto has shifted from being 'search first' to 'AI first'. 

Google Assistant, along with Alexa and the Amazon Echo, have paved the way for the smart speaker market - something Apple recently entered with the Apple HomePod. 

While Apple's hardware in this department has to be commended, its software and use of Siri is lacking - something Apple will want to fix for future iterations. 

This was most apparent in a recent expose by The Information on the inner working of Siri and why, since its arrival seven years ago, it hasn't quite blossomed into the smart assistant Apple had envisioned. 

A recent spate of hirings and this latest news shows that Apple is really getting serious about Siri.

Marc Chacksfield

Marc Chacksfield is the Editor In Chief, at DC Thomson. He started out life as a movie writer for numerous (now defunct) magazines and soon found himself online - editing a gaggle of gadget sites, including TechRadar, Digital Camera World and Tom's Guide UK. At Shortlist you'll find him mostly writing about movies and tech, so no change there then.