Facebook poaches Google chip guru to bolster custom silicon development

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Facebook Hires Away Googler Who Led Team Behind Pixel 2’s Pixel Visual Core

Facebook has appointed Shahriar Rabii, Google's former Senior Director of Engineering, as its new Vice President and Head of Silicon, indicating the company's intentions of furthering its position within the semiconductor market.

There's no word on exactly what Rabii's team will be working on, and Facebook isn't really know for hardware products beyond the Oculus VR devices.

Over the past few years, Google has successfully captured some of the chip design professionals from Apple to develop its own processors, but the tables has turned and now Google has lost one of his talented professional to Facebook.

While at Google, Rabii lead the team that built the Visual Core chip for the Pixel smartphones.

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It remains unclear is Facebook's efforts revolve around creating silicon for consumer devices or if the company is more focused on internal development efforts. Apple has been shipping its own custom main processors in iPads and iPhones since 2010, and has created an array of custom chips for controlling Bluetooth, taking pictures, and conducing machine learning tasks.

Facebook has invested a lot in its project named Oculus virtual reality; the company is working on future products with Qualcomm smartphone chip such as first hardware consisting of series of speakers attached with large touch screens which can be used during video chats.

As Silicon Valley's top tech companies continue to compete aggressively for talent amongst artificial intelligence experts, this marks another departure from Google. Facebook's custom chip could help power VR headsets in the future. Facebook in-house AI chip will enable the company to sync the hardware and software in line with deliverables. Facebook has been working to use AI to better understand the nature of content people post on social media, so that it can quickly take down hate speech, fake accounts and live videos of violence.

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