Business, Google, Microsoft

Senior Microsoft Engineer Quits To Join Google

The Microsoft-Google rivalry is heating up once again as senior Microsoft engineer Blaise Agüera y Arcas jumps ship to go work at Google. Agüera y Arcas was involved on a variety of project at Microsoft, but was a key figure on Bing Maps and Microsoft’s panorama-generating Photosynth software. Anonymous commenters stated that he was going to Google to work on machine learning.

Microsoft has reacted aggressively to losing high profile employees to Google in the past, specifically the incident with Kai-Fu Lee. Google hired Mr. Lee, a Microsoft VP at the time, to run one of their facilities, which resulted in Microsoft filing a lawsuit that was settled in 2005. Testimonies from that lawsuit uncovered a now popular recollection from engineer Mark Lucovsky, who alleged that Microsoft CEO Steven Ballmer threw a chair across the room after Mr. Lucovsky told him he was quitting to join Google.

Agüera y Arcas joined Microsoft in 2006 with the acquisition of his Seadragon Software startup, and gained some fame when he hosted a TED talk on Photosynth in 2007 regarding the translation of 2-D images to 3-D. A Microsoft spokesman stated that “he was a great colleague and we wish him the best in his future endeavors.”

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Business, Google, Robots, Technology

Google Acquires Robotics Company Boston Dynamics

Google announced on Friday that they had completed an acquisition of robotics company Boston Dynamics. The company has gained recognition for its animal-like robot designs that balance on most terrain and are capable of running faster than humans.

Boston Dynamics is best known for their “Big Dog” robot model, which became famous in a viral video demonstrating the bot’s ability to walk in snow and ice, and even stay upright after being kicked. They have also uploaded a more recent product demo of  the quick but noisy “Wildcat”, a galloping four-legged robot that can reach speeds of about 16 mph.

This is the latest in a recent Google trend of acquiring robotics pioneers in the US and Japan, indicating either a push at developing commercial robotics products in the next few years or the more the popular theory; that Google is developing killer robots akin to the Terminator.

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