UPDATED 21:17 EST / AUGUST 16 2018


Google launches the first of its prepackaged AI services

Google LLC has delivered on one of the promises it made at its recent Cloud Next conference to make its artificial intelligence services easier to implement.

The cloud company today launched the first of what it calls “prepackaged AI services,” which as the name suggests bundle prebuilt AI tools for specific business tasks.

Google’s thinking behind its prepackaged AI offerings is that companies are still in need of help in order to adopt these new technologies. The potential for AI is obvious enough, but as Google product managers Apoorv Saxena and Geordy Kitchen pointed out in a blog post, AI also requires “the need for specialized talent and hardware, the right types and quantities of data for training and refining [of] machine learning models.”

That’s what the company is trying to address now. The prepackaged services will be offered in two ways – via a set of packaged solutions through Google partners and through reference architectures that customers can use to create customized AI tools themselves.

“These require more development work than our prepackaged solutions, but simplify complexity for enterprises that need highly business-specific, integrated AI deployments,” Google’s product managers said.

There are two prepackaged AI services to begin with, including “Contact Center AI,” which counts more than 800 users since it was launched in alpha last month. With Contact Center AI, companies basically get a smart chatbot that can answer the phone for them, and also ask and answer simple questions in order to ascertain if a caller requires access to a human agent or not. The AI can also take note of trends and analyze how often problems arise, Google said.

The second package is the “Cloud Talent Solution,” which is an AI bundle that’s designed to recruit new talent while reducing the time it takes to do so.

Google is also offering its “Recommendation Solution” via a reference architecture, an AI tool that can help businesses recommend similar or complementary products to their customers. The idea is that companies can code the service directly into their existing website, and then take advantage of Google’s machine learning skills to improve their product marketplace with recommendations based on user’s buying histories, searches and so on.

Google’s chosen strategy of offering both packaged services and reference architectures is a “proven approach” that’s much older than AI itself, and has already seen success with earlier technologies such as predictive analytics, said Holger Mueller, vice president and principal analyst at Constellation Research Inc.

“Google is doubling down on contact centers and talent acquisition, with the latter being one of the earliest of Google’s AI offerings,” Mueller said. “Recommendations on the other side have much broader applicability, so starting with a reference architecture makes sense. CxOs want to see AI vendors provide both platforms and reference architectures that validate them, so Google is on the right track.”

Image: flegmatik95/Pixabay

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