Facebook has hired a former Google employee to lead its virtual assistant program, according to a source familiar with the matter.
The source told ESPN that the hiring of the former Google software engineer to run the virtual assistant team is part of Facebook’s ongoing effort to grow its AI capabilities.
The source declined to name the company that hired the former software engineer, which is not typically known to the public.
However, this hiring comes on the heels of Facebook announcing a hiring spree for AI specialists that includes Google and Microsoft, the source said.
Facebook announced the hiring spree at its annual developer conference last week, in which the social network said it has hired hundreds of AI developers.
The hiring spree has been criticized by some AI researchers and AI enthusiasts for its lack of diversity.
The search giant also has recently hired artificial intelligence expert Jeff Jarvis, who left Google in 2014 to build artificial intelligence solutions for its self-driving car division.
“The company has done well hiring and retaining great AI talent,” the source told the ESPN.
“But there needs to be more of an emphasis on inclusion.
AI is not a race.
We want to make sure our AI talent is inclusive and not just a bunch of white men.”
As part of its AI expansion, Facebook has also expanded its AI workforce with the hiring in February of AI engineer and former Google executive John D’Aleo as an assistant for the virtual assistants.
D’Alessandro joined Facebook in 2016, where he was instrumental in helping to build the Facebook app and its mobile app, the sources told ESPN.
He has also worked on Facebook’s video chat service, and on Facebook Maps and Instagram.
The new assistant job at Facebook is part.
It follows an earlier hiring spree that also includes Google’s and Microsoft’s own AI talent.
Facebook has been a strong supporter of AI technology, with the company spending $10 billion in 2016 on AI research, according, to the Wall Street Journal.
The hiring of D’Ardoos is part, according Facebook, of a broader effort to boost its AI efforts.
The company has also hired several artificial intelligence experts in the past year.
The new assistant will work with Facebook’s AI team.
Facebook previously hired an artificial intelligence assistant named Alexei Shakhayev, who has worked on many social platforms, including Facebook’s Instagram, the Wall St Journal reported.
The former Microsoft employee previously worked at Facebook’s Internet of Things (IoT) team.
Follow Geoff Boucher on Twitter: @geoff_boucher.