Amit Singhal, who ran Google search for 15 years and who took time off to focus on his foundation, is joining Uber as a senior vice president of engineering overseeing the Map and Marketplace departments.

Singhal had a long interview with TechCrunch, along with the news.  He decided to leave Google about a year ago and has spent his time on his foundation, where he helps promising kids get to to top schools in India.  Now that things seem to going quite well, Singhal wanted a new challenge, a challenge that came about after meeting with Travis Kalanick, the CEO of Uber.

Singhal said he found the computer science challenge of Uber too interesting to pass up. From what he told TechCrunch:

“This company is not only doing things that are amazing, this company also has some of the toughest computer science challenges that I have seen in my career of 25 years,” Singhal told me. “Those computer science challenges for a computer science geek are just intriguing — you give a geek a puzzle, they can’t drop it; they need to solve the puzzle. That’s how it felt to me.”

Amazingly, he puts the challenge at Uber on par with the challenge of creating a search engine:

“At Uber, this team is actually hiding so much deep science behind a very simple interface of pushing a button and having a car show up,” Singhal explained. “The science that goes on behind that is equally as complex as what we had to do at Google.”

TechCrunch also separately reports that Uber has picked up Keven Thompson, another former Googler, who was VP of engineering on ads for YouTube.  His new place at Uber will be vice president, marketplace engineering.

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