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How machine learning will take off in the cloud

Sharon Gaudin | March 28, 2016
The cloud will bring the power of machine learning to the Joe Schmoes of the enterprise.

A company that helps users to create their own websites now knows what kind of sites their 80 million users are building without pestering them with repeated questions.

Wix, a Tel Aviv-based web development company, is using machine learning on Google's cloud platform to learn more about its users so it can help them find the images they need to build interesting and useful websites.

That's just the beginning of how machine learning will be used in the cloud, according to industry analysts who say machine learning will be the biggest thing that's ever hit the cloud.

David Zuckerman, head of developer experience for Wix, said machine learning in the cloud will be a boon to companies that don't have a major research division.

"The cloud has brought this technology to everyone," he said. "It's brought great technology within the reach of mere mortals. Machine learning has always been on the outer edges of what's possible. For most, it's been out of reach. Now this means people can get their feet wet. It's taking machine learning as a service and binging it down to a level where more people can use the technology."

At Google Next, the company's cloud conference on Wednesday, Google said it is bringing machine learning to the cloud and making it easy for enterprises to use it.

Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Alphabet, Google's parent company, said bringing machine learning to the cloud will be a game changer.

"I'm convinced there's a new architecture emerging," he said at the conference. "In a year, you will use machine learning to do something better than humans have been doing. You'll do something new. You'll discover something new."

Using the cloud, he said, will no longer mean storing data there. As more machine learning services are put in the cloud, enterprises will be able to use the service to make sense of the huge amounts of data they are amassing.

"It will be the basis for every successful IPO win in the next five years," said Schmidt. "It'll be about the mixture of crowd-sourcing and machine learning and rapid evaluation to create successful IPOs and new discoveries."

Google also at the conference announced yesterday that it's launching a private beta of its new Cloud Machine Learning service that lets businesses create a custom machine learning model. Customers can use the new service with the data they already have stored in Google's cloud.

The services mainly are designed to help companies make predictions based on the data they have stored in the cloud.

This week, Wix is making Google's machine-learning Cloud Vision API available to all of its users this week. The service enables users to better search for images, while also enabling the company to understand what kinds of websites its customers are building based on a machine learning tool that recognizes the images they use on their websites.


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