Commentary

Google Research Rebrands, With Focus On Artificial Intelligence

Alphabet on Monday announced the rebranding of Google Research to Google AI ahead of its I/O developers’ conference and during the first day of the Microsoft Build developers’ conference.

The move is an indication of the way Google wants advertisers to think about its products and services -- especially after the big push Microsoft has made to communicate how it builds artificial intelligence into each product and service -- specifically its search engine Bing, the company’s biggest user of AI.

For Alphabet, the name Google AI reflects all of the company’s “state-of-the-research happening across Google,” Christian Howard, editor in chief of Google AI Communications, wrote in a blog post.

“We’re unifying our efforts under ‘Google AI,’ he wrote, suggesting that Google AI also underpins all its products and services.

In fact, all of Google’s research channels -- from the blog and affiliated Twitter and Google+ sites, to Google AI -- are being lumped into the Google AI website.

The move follows the appointment of Jeff Dean to head of AI at Google. Dean, who joined Google in mid-1999, helped to design and implement the initial version of Google's ad-serving platform, five generations of the Google crawler, indexing technology, and query serving systems.

He also worked on internal tools to make it easy to rapidly search Google’s internal source-code repository. Many of those ideas were incorporated into the Google Code Search product, including the ability to use regular expressions for searching large quantities of source code.

Dean joined Google’s X lab in 2011 to investigate an approach to machine-learning known as deep neural networks. The project led to the development of software that learned how to find cat videos on YouTube.

As for Google’s push for consumers and companies to recognize the company’s efforts in AI, the newly designed Google AI highlights and emphasizes more than the company’s consumer and advertising products. It highlights research in astronomy and health, for example -- as well as research in mobile computing and the threats to the systematic development of future mobile systems.

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