Google and Amazon are fierce competitors over smart assistants, with Alexa having the lead in the consumer smart speaker space, as well as the enterprise. However, the retailer has just lost its head of Alexa AI research to Google Cloud.

Since 2016, Ashwin Ram served as the senior manager leading research and development for Alexa AI at Amazon. Just yesterday, a LinkedIn post (via Quartz) announced that he’s joining Google Cloud.

Ram is another high-profile hire for Google’s enterprise division competing with the likes of Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. His new role at Google Cloud is as “Technical Director of AI in the Office of the CTO.”

He notes that “Google arguably has the best AI on the planet; my role will be to help make that AI even better and broadly available to everyone.”

The new job is not directly consumer focussed, but rather a part of Google Cloud’s goal to make AI advancements and technology available to regular developers for use in their services and apps. Most recently, Cloud AutoML launched to make image recognition more widely accessible.

With a PhD in computer science, specifically artificial intelligence and cognitive science, from Yale, he is also an adjunct professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology. At Amazon, he also led the Alexa Prize to “create AI that can converse coherently and engagingly for 20 minutes.”


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