In efforts to channel more resources into developing AI-focused chips and consolidate data privacy issues, Facebook
Shahriar Rabii spent nearly seven years at Google before joining Facebook this month as its VP and Head of Silicon. At Google, Rabii helped lead the team in charge of building chips for the company's devices, including the Pixel smartphone's custom Visual Core chip. He'll work under Andrew Bosworth, the company's head of virtual reality and augmented reality, according to people familiar with the matter.
Facebook started forming a team to design chips earlier this year. The Menlo Park, California-based company is working on semiconductors, which can be useful for a variety of different purposes, including to process information for its vast data centers and its artificial intelligence work.
Google has been developing more chips for its future devices. Later this year, the Mountain View, California-based search giant plans to release new Pixel phones with upgraded cameras and an edge-to-edge screen on the new larger model.
Facebook and Google's moves are part of a trend in which technology companies are seeking to supply themselves with semiconductors and lower their dependence on chipmakers such as Intel Corp. and Qualcomm Inc. For instance, Apple
On July 3, Facebook bought artificial intelligence startup Bloomsbury AI in a bid to combat fake news. The social network acquired the London-based company in a stock and cash deal worth a reported $30 million.
The report suggests that the acquisition is as much an 'acqui-hire' - where Facebook gets its hands on the company's talent - as as a technology deal. The Bloomsbury AI team will be put to work on developing systems to identify fake news and help moderate the reams of content published by Facebook's one billion active users daily.
Facebook has always desired to develop its hardware, but its Building 8 hardware division appears to be closer than ever to shipping its first products as the company's rumored work on an Echo Show competitor touchscreen smart speaker continues. Meanwhile, Facebook has also continued building virtual reality hardware built on Qualcomm's mobile chipsets.
Custom chips may also improve the company's efforts in artificial intelligence. 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. But so far, even human moderators are having trouble judging content consistently.