Google’s latest machine learning platform will be available for developers

At its NEXT Google Cloud Platform user conference in San Francisco on Wednesday, the search giant announced a new machine learning platform for developers. The service is called Cloud Machine Learning and it will be available in a limited preview starting yesterday.

According to Tech Crunch, the search giant’s chairman Eric Schmidt said that Google believes machine learning is “what’s next.” With this new cloud service, Google will make it easier for developers to employ some of the machine learning tech, the company already uses to power features like Smart Reply in Inbox.

“Major Google applications use Cloud Machine Learning, including Photos (image search), the Google app (voice search), Translate and Inbox (Smart Reply),” the company says. “Our platform is now available as a cloud service to bring unmatched scale and speed to your business applications.”

Google Cloud Machine Learning platform will have two parts — pre-trained models and another that allows developers build their own models. Google Translate API and Cloud Vision API are pre-trained Machine Learning models, which have been joined by Google Cloud Speech API. The Cloud Speech API powers Google’s own voice search and voice-enabled apps. It can do speech-to-text conversion for 80+ languages.

Explaining further on its official blog, Google noted that the Cloud Machine Learning will be taking care of “everything from data ingestion through to prediction.” It also said that big data in these terms means more productivity especially when building applications leading to faster and better insights, and developers do not have to worry about “underlying infrastructure.”

To train these machine learning models (which takes quite a bit of compute power), developers can take their data from tools like Google Cloud Dataflow, Google BigQuery, Google Cloud Dataproc, Google Cloud Storage, and Google Cloud Datalab.

Going forward, developers will have the opportunity to build Google’s translation, photo, and speech recognition APIs into their own apps utilizing the Cloud Machine Learning platform.

“Cloud Machine Learning will take care of everything from data ingestion through to prediction,” the company says. “The result: now any application can take advantage of the same deep learning techniques that power many of Google’s services.”

Google also believes that Cloud Machine Learning will help it to take it mainstream, which would allow people like data scientists and developers “a way to build a new class of intelligent applications.”

Google isn’t the first major company to introduce a machine learning platform; other companies like Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services too launched their own platforms in 2014 and 2015, respectively.