Google takes a break from being evil to announce AI Platform

Google takes a break from being evil to announce AI Platform
Credit: Nicole Gray

Weather alert: be on the lookout for flying pigs. Google‘s new AI Platform looks to make good on the company’s promise to democratize machine learning. Between developing weapons platforms for the military and censored search engines for China, we forgot it was even capable of doing things that were good for humanity.

At its Google Next event today the Mountain View company announced AI Platform, its new cloud-based end-to-end solution for building, training, and running machine learning models. This is for enterprise, so it’s mostly aimed at data scientists. We like it because it seems like AI Platform was built from the ground up to allow people to share models and collaborate on projects as conveniently as possible.

The field of AI has more than its fair share of walled gardens already. The problem is that piece-meal solutions have been the order of the day for so long that sharing models or collaborating across interfaces hasn’t been a viable solution for most machine learning projects at business scale. AI Platform could fix that.

Google‘s size, accessibility, and customer-base make it as close to an ubiquitous force in the field of AI as there is. Efforts like these, that aim to democratize AI, are sorely needed. There’s a shortage of talent in the AI community because the field’s grown faster than anyone could imagine. This means many companies don’t even have an AI department, and those that do are competing with the Googles, Microsofts, and Amazons of the world for developers.

And, speaking of those other two companies, Google also announced Anthos, a hybrid cloud computing solution that lets developers run models across Amazon’s AWS and Microsoft’s Azure. That’s better cross-platform multiplayer than you’ll get out of the Sony Playstation 4.

TNW talked to AI expert Lin Classon, head of product at managed service provider Ensono, who also seemed to think today’s announcements from Google were a good thing. She told us:

By offering an end-to-end AI platform that makes it even easier to ideat, conceptualize, develop, deploy and iterate, Google has moved us even further in democratizing and enabling innovation.

AI and ML has been one of the most competitive grounds in the major cloud providers’ battle for supremacy. It is particularly interesting that Google’s announcement for the AI Platform beta in addition to the other new AI/ML services was accompanied by another big announcement at this year’s Google Next – Anthos, their hybrid cloud platform that also supports AWS and Azure.

Obviously Google isn’t hosting the world’s machine learning models for free — you’ll have to pay for the privilege of being a part of the new AI democracy. But if the alternative is to keep losing your superstar machine learning developers to trillion-dollar companies, keep in mind Google offers free trials of all its Cloud AI services.

AI Platform – and all the other big machine learning announcements from today’s event – is a step in the right direction for the entire field. Welcome back old Not-Evil-Google, we’ve missed you.

Read next: YouTube TV's looking more like a cable package every day