Google's slew of big announcements in recent weeks -- unveiling Google Translate's neat new machine learning tricks, its voice-controlled speaker system Home, and its new smartphone line Pixel (itself equipped with the futuristic-feeling virtual Assistant) -- are evidence enough that the tech giant is investing heavily in artificial intelligence. But this Fortune story suggests that's just the tip of the iceberg: Google has dramatically ramped up its investments in what's known as "deep learning" in the last four years. In 2012, Google had two deep-learning projects underway. Today, Google has more than 1,000 deep-learning projects in every major product category, including search, maps, translation, and self-driving cars. Deep learning refers to a kind of AI that enables software to train itself to perform tasks, like speech and image recognition.
Machine learning is an application of artificial intelligence. It provides the system an ability to automatically learn and to improve from experience without being thoroughly programmed. The primary aim of this is to allow the computers to learn automatically without human intervention. Google is one of the major advocates of this artificial intelligence. That is the reason behind making'Google Machine Learning Crash Course' available to millions of Googlers all around the world for free as part of Google AI initiative.
While Amazon opted not to move into New York City, Google is setting up shop -- albeit for entirely different reasons. The search giant announced that it is going to set up a temporary learning center in the Big Apple that will offer hands-on workshops and courses to members of the community. The Google NYC Learning Center, located on the ground floor of the company's offices in Chelsea, opened its doors for the first time today and will operate for the next five months. The learning center will occupy an 11,000 square foot space and will host three separate classrooms where community members can attend a variety of different classes, all focused on digital skills. In addition to the seminar-style learning events, the center will also set aside several hours per week to host one-on-one training and coaching sessions.
A lot of the computational plumbing that powers Google owes something to Jeff Dean. He built early versions of the company's Web search and ad systems. And he invented MapReduce, a system for working with big data sets that triggered a major shift across the computing industry. Dean is now laboring to reinvent the inner workings of Google and the wider world all over again. He leads the Google Brain research group, which aims to advance machine learning--the art of making software figure out how to do things for itself instead of being explicitly programmed.
Your smartphone is about to get even smarter. As artificial intelligence and machine learning become all the more influential across the tech industry, tech giant Google has just made moves to improve its own AI capabilities by purchasing Moodstocks, a French startup that is particularly adept at helping phones recognize objects. Soon, you may be able to simply point your mobile device at whatever strikes your fancy, and have your phone tell you what it is (and perhaps tell you a bit about it). In a blog post announcement on Wednesday morning, Vincent Simonet, the head of Google France's R&D Center noted that a number of Google services already employ machine learning "to make them simpler and more useful in everyday life," including Smart Reply Inbox and Google Translate. And while Google has already "made great strides in terms of visual recognition," Simonet writes, as you can currently search for a term in Google Images and be presented with pretty decent image results, Simonet notes "there is still much to do in this area."