Google tasks AI expert John Giannandrea with leading search as its machine learning ambition accelerates

Google has replaced its out-going search chief with an artificial intelligence expert, hinting that machine learning is a core driver of its search strategy.

On Wednesday (3 February), the company announced that AI expert John Giannandrea was to replace Amit Singhal, who helped engineer the search giant’s mobile shift during 15 years at the company.

In addition to the new hire, Re/Code is reporting that the company is looking to merge its AI research and its search operation.

Machine learning, which has been touted as a tool that will revolutionise the marketing industry, could help bolster the intelligence of Google search, especially in the realm of predictive search, with each suggestion reinforced by correct queries.

Giannandrea has also contributed to the research for Google photos recognition, voice recognition and the self-driving car in addition to aiding in the integration of AI to Google’s secretive search algorithm known as RankBrain.

Back in October 2015, the company revealed that RankBrain handled 15 per cent of queries filed to the search engine.

On his departure, Singhal said: "I am eager to see what kind of impact I can make philanthropically, and of course, to spend more time with my family."