The AI Citadel: How Google is Building the Most Comprehensive Ecosystem in the Market for AI Talent

Last week, Google announced the launch of a Studio program to incubate artificial intelligence(AI) startups. Part of Google’s famous Launchpad initiative, the new studio will help AI startups with crucial elements such as specialized datasets, simulation tools and access to AI luminaries like Peter Norvig or Dan Ailey.

the :aunchpad Studio is the latest on a series of massive strategic initiatives that Goggle has been implementing to become a mandatory stop for AI talent and startups. The initiatives include both technical products as well as new organizations and programs that provide foundational elements for companies embarking in their AI journey. Google’s AI announcements has been so many and so frequent that is easy to put them all together and overlook the ambition of the AI infrastructure they have been building. Let’s take a quick recap so you can get an idea of what I am referring to:

1 — Gradient Ventures

Google recently announced a new investment vehicle exclusively dedicated to AI startups. Gradient Ventures joined other Google’s venture funding channels such as GV or Capital G providing a very complete funding ecosystem for AI startups. Considered a specialized funding vehicle within Google, Gradient Ventures has the benefit to invest directly off of Google’s huge balance sheet. Gradient Ventures rivals similar initiatives companies such as Microsoft which recently announced a new fund solely focused on AI.

2 — TensorFlow

No introduction needed here, in just a couple of years TensorFlow has become the most popular deep learning stack in the market which is currently powering many of Google’s mission critical applications. TensorFlow competes with a dozen of open source deep learning frameworks including some from Google’s top competitors such as Baidu( PaddlePaddle), Microsoft( Cognitive Toolkit) or Facebook( Caffe2).

3 — Kaggle

Recently acquired by Google, Kaggle offers a unique platform for hosting machine learning contests between AI developers and researchers. Kaggle combines crowd and artificial intelligence in a unique platform that has no equivalent among Google’s competitors.

4 — TPU

TensorFlow Processing Unit(TPU) is Google’s first attempt to venture into the AI-first hardware space. Even though TPU faces competition from incumbents such as Intel, QUALCOMM or NVIDIA, it has already achieve very relevant market traction within and outside Google.

5 — Cloud ML

Google Cloud Machine Learning( ML) is a native cloud service for the deployment, execution and scalability of Tensorflow programs. Cloud ML faces competition from services such as Azure ML, AWS ML or Alibaba Cloud ML Service.

6 — AI APIs

Google Cloud AI APIs expose advanced deep learning models in areas such as image recognition, natural language processing, video analytics, speech translation and others using very simple APIs. In this area, Google faces competition from stacks such as Watson Developer cloud or Microsoft Cognitive Services.

7 — Launchpad Studio

The latest addition to Google’s AI strategy, the Launchpad Studio will attempt to incubate and mentor promising AI startups and put Google’s sophisticated AI machinery at their disposal. Launchpad Studio faces competition from Microsoft-backed Element AI but can be nonetheless considered a unique addition to Google’s AI arsenal.

8 — AI Research

Google contributions to AI research might rank among the top in the world. Similarly, Google is home for some of the top minds in the AI ecosystem such as Peter Norvig (whose books are considered by many the bible of AI algorithm theory). Having access to this level of thought leadership is an invaluable asset for companies and engineers starting their AI initiatives.

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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