Last night Amit Singhal announced that he was retiring from Google. Amit Singhal who? Well, those who keep an eye on Google know him fairly well. Although, he is not as well-known as Larry Page, Sergey Brin, and of late Sundar Pichai, he is probably the single-most important person inside Google.

The reason why he is such a big deal in Google is because he runs the company’s core search operations. This means, if you use Google Search, whether on the web or on mobile, you use the ideas and features implemented, maintained and conceived by Singhal’s team. He is the man, who for the last 15 years, has kept Google the best damn search engine in the world.

Want to know more about him? Here you go:

1- Amit Singhal is so important to Google that when he retired last night, Danny Sullivan, a long-time Google watcher and founder of Search Engine Blog, compared it to Jony Ive leaving Apple. Now we all know how important Jony Ive is for Apple.

2- Amit Singhal was born in Jhansi. He still visits his family, friends and relatives in India.

3- According to Singhal, he spent “most of my boyhood in the foothills of the Himalayas”.

4- Singhal finished his BS in computer sciences from IIT Roorkee in 1989. He then went to the US.

5- In the US, Singhal studied computer science at University of Minnesota before completing his PhD in computer science from Cornell University.

6- At Cornell, Singhal studied with Prof Gerard Salton. Singhal describes him as “one of the founders of the field of IR (information retrieval).

7- Singhal worked at AT&T’s Bell Labs before he was persuaded to join Google by his friend Krishna Bharat. He joined Google in 2000. Incidentally, Bharat was the person behind Google News.

8- Singhal famously re-wrote the original Google algorithm that was created earlier by Larry Page. He reportedly changed it completely to suit the existing challenges. This apparently impressed Larry Page so much that Singhal was put in charge of Google’s secret sauce — its search algorithm — and was tasked to keep it fresh and relevant.

9- Singhal is a big fan of Star Trek universe and wants to build technologies, such as virtual assistant that understands voice commands, used in the USS Enterprise.

10- When mobile phones started becoming popular, Singhal conceived and developed the idea of “search without searching”. This formed the core of Google Now, a feature on Android phones that provides information to users even before they search for it.

(India Today)

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