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Uber Just Hired Google’s Former Search Chief

January 20, 2017

Andy Rubin Conversation With Guy Kawasaki - 2013 SXSW Music, Film + Interactive FestivalAndy Rubin Conversation With Guy Kawasaki - 2013 SXSW Music, Film + Interactive Festival
Amit Singhal speaks onstage at the Andy Rubin conversation with Guy Kawasaki during the 2013 SXSW Music, Film + Interactive Festival at Austin Convention Center on March 10, 2013 in Austin, Texas. Amy E. Price

Ride-hailing company Uber Technologies has hired the man behind Google search to work closely with Chief Executive Travis Kalanick and help grow the company’s self-driving car program.

Amit Singhal announced on his personal blog on Friday that he will join Uber after 15 years at Alphabet (GOOGL), where he led Google’s search division. Singhal will take the post of senior vice president of engineering, and will act as an adviser to both Kalanick and Anthony Levandowski, who heads the Uber’s self-driving efforts.

In his blog post, Singhal said he was excited for the engineering challenges Uber is tackling, and called the company “a geek’s candy store.”

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“And don’t even get me started on how interesting and exciting self-driving is for a computer scientist,” he wrote.

Uber debuted its self-driving car pilot in Pittsburgh, Penn. in September. It launched a second fleet in San Francisco last month, but a feud with California regulators over Uber’s failure to obtain proper permitting compelled the company to take its autonomous testing cars off the streets.

Uber then packed up its cars and brought them to Arizona, where there are no special regulations for autonomous testing.

Singhal announced his departure from Google nearly a year ago, and said his next career move would involve philanthropy. He founded the Singhal Foundation, which aims to provide education to under-privileged children in India.