Hey Watson: Google is Coming!

Google Cloud keeps accelerating its machine learning capabilities and bridging the gap with cloud market leaders AWS, IBM and Microsoft. Under Diane Green’s leadership, Google has been very clear about its plans to dominate the machine learning platforms space. Yesterday, Google announced the beta release of two new machine learning services: Google Natural Language and Cloud Speech API.

The new Google Cloud Natural Language API in open beta is based on our natural language understanding research. Cloud Natural Language lets you easily reveal the structure and meaning of your text in a variety of languages, with initial support for English, Spanish and Japanese. It includes:

  • Sentiment Analysis: Understand the overall sentiment of a block of text
  • Entity Recognition: Identify the most relevant entities for a block of text and label them with types such as person, organization, location, events, products and media
  • Syntax Analysis: Identify parts of speech and create dependency parse trees for each sentence to reveal the structure and meaning of text

Natural language processing is a key capability of cognitive computing platforms. This type of capability is becoming increasingly relevant with the emergence of technology trends like chatbots which heavily rely on natural language understanding. The alpha release of the Google Speech API was being used by more than 5000 companies including:

· HyperConnect, a video chat app with over 50 million downloads in over 200 countries, uses a combination of our Cloud Speech and Translate API to automatically transcribe and translate conversations between people who speak different languages.

· VoiceBase, a leader in speech analytics as a service, uses Speech API to let developers surface insights and predict outcomes from call recordings.

Google also announced the availability of its Cloud Speech API. The new product provides text-to-speech conversion in over 80 langguages. According to Google, the new platform uses voice recognition technologies that have been powering products like Google Search and Google Now.

From 0 to Watson’s Territory

With this release, Google brdiges the gap with rival platforms IBM Watson Developer Cloud or Microsoft’s Cognitive Services both of which include natural language and speech processing capabilities. IBM has placed cognitive computing at the center of its transformation strategy and Watson has become the undisputed leader in the space. However, Google Cloud is rapidly becoming a relevant player in the market.

A few months ago, Google Cloud didn’t have a SINGLE MACHINE LEARNING SERVICE. Since then, Google Cloud has boosted its machine learning portfolio making it one of the most complete offering among the PaaS market leaders. Some of the recent milestones include the open sourced release of the TensorFlow deep learning framework, the alpha release of the Google Cloud Machine Learning platform and now the beta release of new natural language and speech processing capabilities. Additionally, Google’s Deep Mind keeps delivering impressive results ranging from playing Go to optimizing cost in data center infrastructures.

CEO of IntoTheBlock, Chief Scientist at Invector Labs, I write The Sequence Newsletter, Guest lecturer at Columbia University, Angel Investor, Author, Speaker.

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