Google has fallen behind in the cloud computing market, outpaced by rivals like Microsoft and Amazon. However, the company hopes it can win new customers by offering not only computing power on tap, but also artificial intelligence. Earlier this year, Google announced its intention to offer cloud-based machine learning tools to customers, and from this week onward, two of those APIS are going to be available to all in an open beta.
The first of these is a text analysis tool, which can be used to automatically extract key bits of information from written documents, or perform "sentiment analysis" to judge the mood and intent of the author. "For example," says Google, "digital marketers can analyze online product reviews or service centers can determine sentiment from transcribed customer calls." The second is a speech recognition API, which converts over 80 spoken languages to text, and can return results in real-time. It's the same sort of technology that powers the voice interfaces in digital assistants, but Google is offering it on tap.
Google isn't without competition in this space. Amazon and Microsoft both offer machine learning programs as part of their own cloud platforms, and so far both companies have a clear lead. Estimates from Forrester Research (via The Wall Street Journal), peg Amazon's cloud revenues at $10.8 billion this year, Microsoft's at $10.1 billion, and Google's at $3.9 billion. Google is currently offering users free trials of its machine learning cloud tools (which include image recognition as well as text analysis), and will be hoping that once users have a taste, they'll come back for more.