By 

JONATHAN VANIAN

 

October 2, 2018

Google and Facebook are teaming up to make each company’s artificial intelligence technologies work better together.

 

The two companies said Tuesday that an unspecified number of engineers are collaborating to make Facebook’s open source machine learning PyTorch framework work with Google’s custom computer chips for machine learning, dubbed Tensor Processing Units, or TPU. The collaboration marks one of the rare instances of the technology rivals working together on joint tech projects.

 

“Today, we’re pleased to announce that engineers on Google’s TPU team are actively collaborating with core PyTorch developers to connect PyTorch to Cloud TPUs,” Google Cloud director of product management Rajen Sheth wrote in a blog post. “The long-term goal is to enable everyone to enjoy the simplicity and flexibility of PyTorch while benefiting from the performance, scalability, and cost-efficiency of Cloud TPUs.”

Facebook product manager for artificial intelligence Joseph Spisak said in a separate blog post that “Engineers on Google’s Cloud TPU team are in active collaboration with our PyTorch team to enable support for PyTorch 1.0 models on this custom hardware.”

 

Google first debuted its TPUs in 2016 during its annual developer conference, and pitched them as a more efficient way for companies and researchers to power their machine-learning software projects. The search giant sells access to its TPUs via its cloud computing business instead of selling the chips individually to customers like Nvidia, whose graphics processing units, or GPUs, are popular with researchers working on deep learning projects.

 

Artificial intelligence technologies like deep learning have grown in popularity over the years with tech giants like Google and Facebook that use the technologies to create software applications that can automatically do tasks like recognize images in photos.

As more businesses explore machine learning technology, companies like Google, Facebook, and others have created their own AI software frameworks, essentially coding tools, intended to make it easier for developers to create their own machine-learning powered software. These companies have also offered these AI frameworks for free in an open source model in order to popularize them with coders.

Read and Learn More

It wouldn't just be for Pixelbook owners.
You might not have to splurge on a Pixelbook if you’re pining after a Chromebook with Windows 10 support.

You might not have to splurge on a Pixelbook if you’re pining after a Chromebook with Windows 10 supportXDA-Developers has learnedthrough source code that Campfire, the feature that would let Chrome OS dual-boot Windows 10, would be available in multiple “variants” — that is, on more than one Chrome OS device. This wouldn’t mean that any and all Google-powered PCs would have the option. Hardware makers would have to verify that Windows worked properly, and it’d be out of the question for the many Chrome machines that only have a small amount of flash storage. Recent code comments suggest you’d need at least 40GB of space, and many Chromebooks have 32GB or less.

The good news: you might not need to jump through hoops to turn it on. You wouldn’t need to enable Developer Mode (and thus compromise your PC’s security) or flash your firmware. There are also hints that you could use a simple command to invoke the new mode.

Read More

Google Is in China Cloud Talks With Tencent, Others
Google wants to get back into China, and is laying the groundwork for a key part of the initiative: bringing its cloud business to the world’s second-largest economy

The internet giant is in talks with Tencent Holdings Ltd., Inspur Group and other Chinese companies to offer Google cloud services in the mainland, according to people familiar with the discussions. They asked not to be identified discussing private matters.

The talks began in early 2018 and Google narrowed partnership candidates to three firms in late March, according to one of the people. Trade tensions between China and the U.S. now loom over the effort. It’s unclear if the plans will proceed, this person said.

The goal is to run Google internet-based services — such as Drive and Docs — via the domestic data centers and servers of Chinese providers, similar to the way other U.S. cloud companies access that market. In most of the rest of the world, Google Cloud rents computing power and storage over the internet, and sells a collection of workplace productivity apps called G Suite that are run on its own data centers. China requires digital information to be stored in the country and Google has no data centers in the mainland, so it needs partnerships with local players.

Diane GreenePhotographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg
Google Cloud chief Diane Greene said last week that she wants the business to “be a global cloud,” but declined to comment specifically about China. Still, the company is seeking a Shanghai-based business development manager for its cloud business. The job posting lists “experience in, and knowledge of, the Chinese market” as a preferred qualification.

A Google Cloud spokesman declined to comment. Inspur and Jane Yip, a Tencent spokeswoman, didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment on Friday.

A tie-up with large Chinese tech firms, like Tencent and Inspur, a major cloud and server provider, would also give Google powerful allies as it attempts a broader return to mainland China, where it pulled its search engine in 2010 over censorship concerns. Read More

By Mark Bergen and Shelly Banjo
August 2, 2018, 3:43 AM EDT Updated on August 2, 2018, 5:11 AM EDT

Google staff awoke on Wednesday to surprising news: Their company is working on a search app tailored, and censored, for China. The project, kept secret from all but select teams and leaders, sparked a furious internal debate.

Yet the move couldn’t have been entirely surprising for Googlers.

 

Sundar Pichai

Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

Sundar Pichai, chief executive officer since 2015, has made no secret of his desire to take the search giant back to mainland China. The executive is more pragmatic about the world’s largest internet market than Google’s founders, who pulled search from the mainland in 2010 over censorship concerns.

Under Pichai, Google has invested in Chinese companies, met with its leaders and made it a priority to spread Google’s artificial intelligence technology across the country. But bringing search back would be Pichai’s boldest move yet and will put his personal stamp firmly on the company.

Co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin built Google to “organize the world’s information and make it universally available.” They viewed China as a threat to the company’s stance as a defender of the open web. Pichai, in contrast, sees China as a hotbed of engineering talent and an appealing market. 

Pichai’s new leadership style and priorities haven’t always sat well with the Google rank and file. Within hours of the China search news breaking, several staff privately criticized the plans. Two employees who spoke to Bloomberg News compared it to Project Maven, a Google AI contract with the Pentagon that sparked an internal revolt earlier this year. The company is not renewing that deal. Read More