Key staff driving Apple search engine leave, rejoin Google

Four years after Apple acquired Laserlike to boost its web search technology, the founders have quit to rejoin Google.

‘Laserlike’ is a startup founded by a trio of former Google search engineers to recommend websites to people based on their interests and browsing history.

According to AppleInsider, Anand Shukla, Srinivasan Venkatachary and Steven Baker were all Google employees before founding Laserlike in 2015. Their work at Apple is one of the reasons the company is predicted to launch its own search engine similar to Google’s.

Laserlike was acquired by Apple in 2018, but the deal was not made public until the following year. The company’s three founders were acquired as part of the deal, and they eventually led a 200-person search team at Apple.

Srinivasan Venkatachary has now returned to Google, and is reportedly the company’s new vice president of engineering, according to a media report.

Venkatachary reports to James Manyika, senior vice president of technology and society. Baker and Shukla are now both on Manyika’s team.

However, it’s unclear whether all three left Apple at the same time, or if Venkatachary is the most recent departure, said the report.

Rumours of Apple developing its own search engine gained traction following the release of iOS 14 in 2020.

Siri suggestions were then reportedly being routed through Apple’s Spotlight search service, rather than being passed on to Google, the report added.




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