Amit Singhal announced on Wednesday that he will be retiring from Google on Feb. 26, 2016, after 15 years of being in charge of Google’s Search division. The focus for Singhal will be on his philanthropic work, and to spend time with his family.
Singhal was upbeat in his announcement about his plans but also spoke of his confidence that the current team will be able to run things perfectly fine after he leaves:
“Now is a good time to make this important life change,” Singhal said. “Things are in amazing shape. Search is stronger than ever, and will only get better in the hands of an outstanding set of senior leaders who are already running the show day-to-day.”
Singhal has been a significant influence on the current state of Google Search. After he joined Google in 2000, he re-wrote the search engine code. For this work he was named a “Google Fellow” in 2001, such was its success. It is Singhal who is responsible for the current simplistic styling of the current search, and Matt Cutts tribute sums his contribution up nicely:
Billions of people have benefited in some way from Amit’s insight and judgment. Google will miss you, but thank you for everything, Amit.
John Giannandrea, currently a vice president of engineering, will replace Singhal once he leaves at the end of February. Giannandrea, 50 came to Google after the acquisition of Metaweb Technologies back in 2010.
Giannadrea has been instrumental in Googles machine learning projects, and we expect this to continue to be a strong area of development for Google once he takes over (i.e. He is the man behind RankBrain).
The full announcement by Singhall is reproduced in full below:
My life has been a dream journey. From a little boy growing up in the Himalayas dreaming of the Star Trek computer, to an immigrant who came to the United States with two suitcases and not much else, to the person responsible for Search at Google, every turn has enriched me and made me a better person.
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. It has always been a priority for me to give back to people who are less fortunate, and make time for my family amidst competing work constraints–but on both fronts, I simply want to give and do more.
Now is a good time to make this important life change. Things are in amazing shape. Search is stronger than ever, and will only get better in the hands of an outstanding set of senior leaders who are already running the show day-to-day.
It fills me with pride to see what we have built in the last fifteen years. Search has transformed people’s lives; over a billion people rely on us. Our mission of empowering people with information and the impact it has had on this world cannot be overstated. When I started, who would have imagined that in a short period of fifteen years, we would tap a button, ask Google anything and get the answer. Today, it has become second nature to us. My dream Star Trek computer is becoming a reality, and it is far better than what I ever imagined.
I love Google. It is a company that believes in doing the right thing, a company that believes in doing good in the world, a company… that cares. I look back at my time here with a profound sense of gratitude that I was a part of building this. Now, with pride, gratitude, and joy in my heart, I need to define my next fifteen years. I am eager to see what kind of impact I can make philanthropically, and of course, to spend more time with my family–especially with my wife who I miss spending time with given our incredibly busy lives, and our son who will go to college soon, leaving an empty nest behind.
Feb 26 will be my last day at Google. My relationships are the most important thing I’ve accumulated in life and I’d love for that to continue. Please do drop me a line occasionally and we can have a cup of tea.
As Chief Si’ahl said “Take nothing but memories, leave nothing but footprints!” I am taking so many fond memories with me, and hopefully I’ve left a small footprint here.
With Love, Amit