Uber contrata al ex responsable de búsquedas en Google, crece rivalidad

SAN FRANCISCO — Uber and Google have long been bitter rivals in the race to build the autonomous vehicles that appear integral to the future of transportation. Soon, Uber will have a bit of help in that effort from a man who has played a key role in Google’s history.

Amit Singhal, a 15-year Google veteran and a former senior vice president for search at the company, said on Friday that he planned to join Uber as senior vice president for engineering. At Uber, he will work to build out the software and infrastructure that are the foundation of the company’s ride-hailing services.

In his new position, Mr. Singhal will report to Travis Kalanick, Uber’s chief executive, and will lead the company’s mapping division as well as a unit that runs the dispatching, marketing and pricing of Uber cars. Mr. Singhal will also advise Anthony Levandowski, who runs the company’s self-driving automobile efforts.

“It’s hard enough to connect millions of drivers to millions of riders in real time while creating optimal routes for drivers,” Mr. Singhal wrote in a post on his personal blog on Friday. “Add to that the twist of predicting real-time traffic, pooling multiple riders and making the system economically attractive for everyone — and now you have one of the most challenging computer science problems I’ve encountered in my 30-year career.”

The hiring of Mr. Singhal, who left Google last year, is a coup for Uber, which has publicly stated its intention to fight Google’s substantial head start in autonomous-vehicle research. Uber has poached multiple high-level employees from Google over the past seven years, including Brian McClendon, a mapping expert, and Mr. Levandowski, a veteran of self-driving-car research.

Early in Uber’s history, it and Google were more allies than enemies. Google highlighted the Uber app in its maps application as a mode of transportation, and GV, the venture capital arm of Google’s parent, Alphabet, has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in Uber.

But since it became clearer that Uber and Google would compete in the development of self-driving vehicles and in other areas, the companies have grown apart. Google now offers a type of car-pooling service in the San Francisco area through Waze, a mapping app it owns. And David Drummond, a top Google executive, left his position on the Uber board of directors last year.

Mr. Singhal’s move to Uber ratchets up the rivalry. Hired by Google in 2000, he was the company’s 176th employee, and he rewrote many of the original search algorithms created by the company’s founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin.

Mr. Singhal is credited as one of the engineers who built the smarter and faster search engine that gave Google what proved to be an insurmountable advantage in web search. When Mr. Singhal left his position as Google’s head of search last February, he said he planned to focus on philanthropy.

“I love Amit’s excitement for solving complex computer science problems and his passion for helping improve people’s lives through technology,” Mr. Kalanick, Uber’s chief executive, said in a statement. “The team at Uber, myself included, will learn a lot from him.”

Fuente: NYtimes



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