TAU professor becomes Google VP
TAU's Prof. Yossi Matias has been promoted to Google Vice President
Prof. Yossi Matias of Tel Aviv University's Blavatnik School of Computer Sciences, the Managing Director of Google's R&D Center in Israel, has been appointed a Vice President at Google. He will keep leading global efforts within Google Search team, while continuing to lead Israel's R&D Center.
"We've made good progress from the ten blue links Search showed in response to queries. Today, we all carry powerful smartphones and expect them to help us throughout our lives — from where we're supposed to be in 15 minutes, to which school is the best fit for our kids. In response, Google has changed a lot. Typing on your phone is slow and cumbersome, so now you can talk to Google and get answers to an increasing range of questions. But we're still far from our goal of getting you just the right information at the exact moment you need it with almost no effort," said Prof. Matias. "My team and I are focusing on new products and technologies to further this end."
After joining Google eight years ago to start an R&D center in Tel Aviv, Prof. Matias merged Google's Tel Aviv and Haifa centers to form a single strategic Israel R&D Center, which has since grown rapidly to include over 400 engineers. Under Prof. Matias' leadership, Israel's R&D Center has developed core technologies in the areas of Search, Data Analytics, Gmail, YouTube, and Internet scale infrastructure, as well as pioneered an initiative to bring online worldwide heritage collections.
Creating the next generation of tech entrepreneurs
Prof. Matias was also instrumental in founding Google's Campus Tel Aviv, a tech hub aimed at supporting the next generation of Israeli tech entrepreneurs. "For the past few years, I and my team have held a class at TAU in Cloud and Web Development, in which students develop new products, study new technologies, and learn how to work well in teams," said Prof. Matias. "This is de facto a class in entrepreneurship, combining technology development and innovation with real-world operations. The success of the class was one of the inspirations for establishing Campus Tel Aviv and its Launchpad."
On the faculty of TAU's Blavatnik School of Computer Science, Prof. Matias has published over 100 scientific and technological research papers, and has over 30 patents registered in his name. He is a recipient of the Gödel Prize for his pioneering work on Big Data (with Prof. Noga Alon, also from TAU, and Prof. Mario Szegedy) and was elected a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).
"The roles of academic research and education are more important today than ever, and I was fortunate to have worked over the years at TAU, where there is exceptional work on cutting-edge research and an amazing faculty," said Prof. Matias. "I remain close to my academic roots, teaching various courses over the years. I'm a strong believer in the benefits of cross-pollination between excellent academic research and education and innovative product and technology development. While my primary role is to lead the development of some of our global products and technologies, I also help oversee our university relations program across Europe and Israel."
According to Prof. Matias, "For both academic research and technology development, it's important to take on big challenges of high impact, and focus on the long term."