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Google's former head of search joins Uber to lead its maps division

Amit Singhal, the former Google engineer who helped perfect the search engine’s ranking algorithm, is joining Uber as senior vice president of engineering, the ride-hail company announced today.

Singhal will report directly to Uber CEO Travis Kalanick and Anthony Levandowski, vice president of engineering and head of Uber’s self-driving car division. He will head up the ride-hailing startup’s Maps and Marketplace division, and will work to scale up Uber’s self-driving engineering unit.

Singhal becomes the latest ex-Google wiz to join the fast-growing ride-hailing company. He will work alongside Manik Gupta, the former head of Google Maps product division, and Brian McClendon, who once ran Google’s entire mapping division. It comes at the same time that Uber is pumping $500 million into building a map of the entire world, a crucial step toward using autonomous vehicles.

On his personal blog, Singhal said he was looking forward to tackling the challenge of helping Uber build maps for autonomous vehicles. “It’s hard enough to connect millions of drivers to millions of riders in real time while creating optimal routes for drivers,” he said. “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 thirty-year career.”

Kalanick praised Singhal’s hiring on Facebook.


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