Google Speaker Bios

Ray Kurzweil- Director of Engineering, Google

If you’re questioning the relationship between futurism and Street View, consider how most people felt when Street View first launched 10 years ago. Ray’s illuminating perspective will help us understand where Street View can go in the next 10, 20, 100 years!

Ray Kurzweil is one of the world’s leading inventors, thinkers, and futurists, with a thirty-year track record of accurate predictions. He was the principal inventor of the first CCD flat-bed scanner, omni-font optical character recognition, print-to- speech reading machine for the blind, text-to- speech synthesizer, music synthesizer capable of recreating the grand piano and other orchestral instruments, and commercially marketed large-vocabulary speech recognition software.
Ray received a Grammy Award for outstanding achievements in music technology; he is the recipient of the National Medal of Technology, was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame, holds twenty-one honorary Doctorates, and honors from three U.S. presidents.
Ray has written five national best-selling books, including New York Times best sellers The Singularity Is Near and How To Create A Mind. He is a Director of Engineering at Google heading up a team developing machine intelligence and natural language understanding.

Andrew Lookingbill- Distinguished Software Engineer, Google Maps

Over the past 10 years, Andrew’s sharp support and leadership has been instrumental in making Google Maps the rich and relevant reflection of the real world that it is today. The team led by Andrew continues to turn science fiction into science as Google Maps becomes a household utility. Expect to hear some exciting background on the ‘magic’ behind Google Maps data when Andrew takes the stage.

Andrew is a Distinguished Engineer in the Geo Platform team who has spent the last decade at Google working on Ground Truth, the project that creates and curates our model of the real world that supports Google Maps. His technical interests include computer vision, robotics, and machine learning.
He previously worked at Honeywell Space and Satellite and holds a B.S.E degree in Electrical Engineering from Princeton University and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University where he did research as part of the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Lab and participated in the DARPA Learning Applied to Ground Robotics (LAGR) program. 

Luiz André Barroso- VP of Engineering, Google Maps

Luiz brings an astounding depth of experience to Google Maps as his bio (in his own words) reflects. When it comes to infrastructure, which is so key to Google Maps’ daily utility value, he has seen it all. Luiz is a fantastic story-teller and will explain why Street View imagery is more important than ever. 

I am a VP of Engineering in the Geo Platform team and a Google Fellow. Our team collects and curates the local data, basemap information and rich imagery that together builds a detailed model of the real world. That model powers consumer products such as search, Maps and Google Earth, while being increasingly critical to 3rd party businesses that benefit from geo-spatial data and intelligence about the world.
Before Geo I worked as a software engineer in search infrastructure and was involved in the design or implementation of several software systems, including Dapper, stubby, bare metal messaging and Google Scholar. I was also the founding manager of the Platforms team (the group that designs our servers, data centers, storage systems, ML accelerators, etc) and served as T.I.'s area-tech-lead for that area for several years. I have co-authored a popular textbook describing the architecture of large-scale data centers, or Warehouse-scale computers.
I occasionally write research articles and participate in external professional engagements. Much more rarely I have ventured into management philosophy by writing short essays. I have a bachelors in electrical engineering and a doctorate in computer engineering. 

Guest Speaker Bios

André Van Kets - co-founder and Digital DirectorDiscover Africa Group

André Van Kets is co-founder and Digital Director of Cape Town based online-travel company Discover Africa Group. Established in 2002, the Discover Africa Group has helped tens of thousands of travellers plan their holidays and safaris to Southern and East Africa. André is a keen hiker, trail runner, swimmer and rider of boards. His zeal for technology and love for the great outdoors inspired him to apply to the Street View Camera Loan Program in 2015. André was accepted to the loan program in 2016, where he coordinated #TrekSouthAfrica - a project that crowdsourced over 200 local volunteers who hiked trails in South Africa’s 19 national parks with the 22kg Google Trekker camera strapped to their backs. The end result? 170 new trails of some of Africa's wildest locations can now be explored via Google Street View.  

Federico Debetto

Federico Debetto [@Kiko-ITA-] has shot businesses all over the world and is known in the trusted community for his great expertise in aerial 360 photography. His extended virtual tour of Albania reached some 8.5 million views on Google Maps in less than a year. He enjoys motors, photography, walking and good wines.... and his cat, Blissa :-)

Nate Huff - Senior Vice President at Miles Partnership

Nate Huff is Senior Vice President at Miles Partnership, a marketing agency that specializes in the travel and tourism vertical. Nate works with destinations and travel brands to craft content-driven strategies that generate measurable results. His clients include San Francisco Travel, Visit St. Petersburg/Clearwater, Explore Branson, Sonoma and Brand USA, the U.S.’s official destination marketing organization. He is currently leading Miles Partnership’s Google destination content support programs, which were unveiled at Destination International’s 2017 Annual Conference and now include more than 35 participating organizations. Nate lives in Florida, but is a NorCal native and UC Santa Cruz alum (go Fighting Banana Slugs!). 

Tania Wolfgramm - Executive Director, Global Reach Initiative | GRID Pacific

Tania Wolfgramm is the Executive Director of the GRID Pacific Street View Team. Her father Tevita Wolfgramm is of Ha’a Lavaki, Tapueluelu; descendants of ‘Ulukalala, Tu’i Vava’u of the Kingdom of Tonga. Her mother is Whakatohea and Te Aupouri of the tribes of Aotearoa New Zealand. Tania is a director, strategist, systems designer, innovator, and technologist. She has extensive experience in systems development, seeking transformative and sustainable solutions that enhance the wellbeing of Māori / Pacific / Indigenous communities. A cultural psychologist, Tania is the founder of the HAKAMANA System of Design, Development, and Evaluation which has been applied across numerous countries, programmes and initiatives, including: Creative (Pou Kapua; Whaotapu); Health (Whanau Ora / Samoa M&E System); Indigenous Development(TE HA Alliance); and Pacific Advancement (GRID Pacific | GRID Tonga). She is passionate about sharing the story of the Pacific Moana (Ocean) and Islands with the world – so that they can enjoy it in both the real world, and in the virtual world. “I seek to understand the psyche of our people and cultures as we endeavor to express and imprint our view of the world, our languages, our hopes and dreams onto and into technologies we co-create with our allies – forging a lasting legacy for our children and future generations.” - Tania