2 min read

AI was always going to be a central theme of this year’s Google Cloud Next, and the company hasn’t disappointed. In a blog post, Fei-Fei Li, Chief Scientist at Google AI, has revealed a number of new products that will make AI more accessible for developers.

Expanding Cloud AutoML

Fei-Fei Li
Fei-Fei Li at Ai for Good in 2017 (via commons.wikimedia.org)

In her blog post, Li notes that there is a “significant gap” in the machine learning world. On the one hand data scientists build solutions from the ground up, while on the other, pre-trained solutions can deliver immediate results with little work from engineers.

With Cloud AutoML Google has made a pitch to the middle ground: those that require more sophistication that pre-built models, but don’t have the resources to build a system from scratch.

Li provides detail on a number of new developments within the Cloud AutoML project, that are being launched as part of Google Cloud Next. This includes AutoML Vision, which “extends the Cloud Vision API to recognize entirely new categories of images.” It also includes two completely new language-related machine learning tools: AutoML Natural Language and AutoML Translation.


AutoML Natural Language will allow users to perform Natural Language Processing – this could, for example, help organizations manage content at scale. AutoML Translation meanwhile could be particularly useful for organizations looking to go global with content distribution and marketing.

Improvements to Google machine learning APIs

Li also revealed that Google are launching updates to a number of key updates to APIs:

  • The Google Cloud Vision API “now recognizes handwriting, supports additional file types (PDF and TIFF) and product search, and can identify where an object is located within an image” according to Li.
  • The Cloud Text-to-Speech and Cloud Speech-to-Text also have updates that build in greater sophistication in areas such as translation, for example.

Bringing AI to customer service with Contact Center AI

The final important announcement by Li centers on conversational UI using AI. Part of this was an update to Diagflow Enterprise Edition, a Google-owned tool that makes building conversational UI easier. Text to speech capabilities have been added to the tool alongside its speech to text capability, which came with its launch in November 2017.

But the big reveal is Contact Center AI. This builds on Diagflow and is essentially a complete customer service AI solution. Contact Center AI bridges the gap between virtual assistant and human custom service representative, supporting the entire journey from customer query to resolution. It has the potential to be a game changer when it comes to customer support.

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