What's going on at Google
? Maybe the better question is: "What isn't going on at Google?" The company has pulled its focus in recently, shutting down certain aspects that it can't provide adequate focus on, but also using the opportunity to focus even more intently on areas that it truly sees a future in. Now, Google is acquiring a neural networks start-up, along with employees Geoffrey Hinton and two of his research students, Alex Krizhevsky and Ilya Sutskever. Roughly, the team is expected to boost Google's research in "deep learning networks," and it doesn't take too long to understand how this might be useful.
Google is quite clearly interested in being more of a people-facing company. Just look at Google Glass
. When you're developing that product, you're going to need scientists on your team to explore the human element. Here's a note from University of Toronto Professor of Computer Science Geoffrey Hinton:
"Last summer, I spent several months working with Google’s Knowledge team in Mountain View, working with Jeff Dean and an incredible group of scientists and engineers who have a real shot at making spectacular progress in machine learning. Together with two of my recent graduate students, Ilya Sutskever and Alex Krizhevsky (who won the 2012 ImageNet competition), I am betting on Google’s team to be the epicenter of future breakthroughs. That means we’ll soon be joining Google to work with some of the smartest engineering minds to tackle some of the biggest challenges in computer science."
Google is clearly taking initiative here and pushing this type of research forward in a major way, and only time will tell how it ends up impacting consumers. But rest assured: if anyone could translate this type of technobabble into a consumer product, Google is well-positioned to do it.
(image credit: Universidad Carlos III de Madrid)