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Facebook reportedly hires AI chip head from Google

Facebook is continuing to devote more resources to the development of AI-focused chips, bringing aboard a senior director of engineering from Google who worked on chips for Google’s products to lead its efforts, Bloomberg reports.

We’ve reached out to Google and Facebook for confirmation.

Shahriar Rabii spent nearly seven years at Google before joining Facebook this month as its VP and Head of Silicon according to his LinkedIn profile.

Facebook’s work on AI-focused custom silicon has been the topic of rumors and reports over the past several months. It’s undoubtedly a bold direction for the company, though it’s unclear how interested Facebook is in creating custom silicon for consumer devices or if they’re more focused on building for their server business as they also look to accelerate their own research efforts.

Rabii’s work at Google seemed to encompass a good deal of work on chips for consumer devices, specifically work on the Pixel 2’s Visual Core chip, which brought machine learning intelligence to the device’s camera.

Facebook has long held hardware ambitions, but its Building 8 hardware division appears to be closer than ever to shipping its first products as the company’s rumored work on an Echo Show competitor touchscreen smart speaker continues. Meanwhile, Facebook has also continued building virtual reality hardware built on Qualcomm’s mobile chipsets.

As Silicon Valley’s top tech companies continue to compete aggressively for talent amongst artificial intelligence experts, this marks another departure from Google. Earlier this year, Apple poached Google’s AI head.

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