The past few years have seen huge breakthroughs in the use and application of artificial intelligence — and AI holds major promise for people around the world. AI already powers Google’s core products that help billions of people every day. Whether it’s asking for movie times, finding the nearest doctor or finding better routes home — our work in AI is centered on making everyday experiences more helpful.
We’ve been developing AI for more than two decades. Some of our most popular products at Google — like Lens and Translate — were built entirely using artificial intelligence technologies like optical character recognition and machine learning. And countless other Google products now have AI built into them, and are far better and more helpful to billions of people as a result.
Many of these improvements are possible thanks to our invention of Transformer in 2017. Considered the grandparent of modern language models, we’re now able to build AI language models (like BERT, PALM, MUM, and LaMDA) on top of this architecture that can do everything from solve complex math word problems, answer questions in new languages, and express their reasoning through words using chain of thought prompting.
Here are nine ways we use AI, today, to make our products even more helpful.
- Search. When Google was founded, most searches happened on computers in homes, computer labs or libraries. Twenty-five years later, AI is making it possible to search in new languages, with new inputs (like searching with your camera, or even humming a tune) and even multiple inputs at once. Thanks to multisearch, you can now search with images and text at the same time with the Google App. So next time you’re inspired by an interesting wallpaper pattern, you can just snap a photo and add text to find that pattern on a shirt.
- Maps. The AI behind Google Maps analyzes data to provide up-to-date information about traffic conditions and delays — sometimes helping you avoid a traffic jam altogether. It also automatically updates things like business hours and speed limits so you can see the latest information about your world every single day.
- Pixel. AI helps your Pixel phone instantly translate between 21 languages in chat, as well as facilitate a verbal conversation between 6 different languages in Interpreter Mode. It’s also what enables Magic Eraser to remove distractions from photos.
- Photos. People take a lot of photos but an abundance of pics makes it easy for memories to get buried. So back in 2015, we developed AI in Google Photos to help you search for photos by what’s in them. And more recently, we’ve used AI in Photos to help you revisit forgotten “Memories.”
- YouTube. YouTube uses AI to automatically generate captions for videos, making them more accessible to a wider audience, including those who are deaf or hard of hearing.
- Assistant. Human beings speak like…human beings. For a long time, computers did not. The Natural Language Processing (NLP) AI technology developed for Assistant allows it to understand and respond in a way that mimics human communication — which allows it to parse the text of your question that tries to identify the meaning of your question. So AI is what enables your phone, your Home, your TV, or your car to understand what you mean by “Hey Google, where's the closest dog park” — and quickly get you directions.
- Gmail. We’re all familiar with features like autocomplete and spell check, both of which are powered by AI. But if you’ve ever wondered why Gmail is less spammy than other email services — look to AI. Our spam-filtering capabilities are powered by AI, and they block nearly 10 million spam emails every minute — and prevent more than 99.9% of spam, phishing attempts and malware from reaching you.
- Ads. Large and small businesses all over the world rely on Google Ads to find customers and grow their businesses, and we make that even easier with AI. As one example, through Performance Max, advertisers simply tell us their campaign goals and share their creative assets, and AI will automatically produce and run a highly effective ad campaign across all of Google’s properties, to meet their budget. We’re also using AI to automatically reformat landscape video ads into vertical or square ads, based on what someone is watching on YouTube.
- Cloud. Lastly, while we’re very excited at the ways AI is improving our products — we’re equally excited to put the power of AI in other businesses’ hands, so they can transform the way they work and operate. Google Cloud has built AI into countless solutions that our customers can customize for their unique needs, such as DocAI for document processing, Contact Center AI for call center operations, Vertex Vision AI for video and image analysis, Translation Hub for translation in 100+ languages at scale, and many other examples.
We’re excited about our work in AI, and we’re committed to developing it responsibly in a way that ensures our products become even more useful to people. But we’re equally excited about the promise AI holds for solving some of the most persistent challenges facing our world: whether it’s tackling the climate crisis, leveraging DeepMind AI’s work to reduce energy consumption and save resources, or expanding access to medical diagnosis.
That’s just a taste – we have so much more in store and we’re excited for what comes next.