Google Starts New AI Research Group in Europe to Beat Microsoft and Facebook

In an effort to take a lead in artificial intelligence, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) has established a new AI research group in Europe. Based in Zurich, Switzerland, the group will mainly focus on making machines learn and understand the way humans do.

Google, in one of its official blogs, mentions that the largest Google research facility outside the US is already in Zurich. It is the same research facility that came up with the conversation engine for Allo, Google’s smart chat software. Adding a separate artificial intelligence division to it means Google has something cooking.

According to Google’s announcement, the research will follow three aspects: Machine intelligence, Natural Language Processing and Understanding, and Machine Perception. Machine learning is the phenomenon whereby machines or computers are designed to learn without being programmed every time. The algorithms observe scores of data and build their knowledge-base, which, similar to human knowledge, keeps on expanding with experience.

It seeks to build a system that can mimic humans as closely as possible. The blog post mentions that Google has been working on machine learning for quite some time, and many of its products have become part of our everyday lives. Technologies like the Photo Search, Google Translate, and Smart Reply, are all products of Google’s machine learning initiatives worldwide.

We mentioned in an earlier story, how artificial intelligence is the future of the tech industry. Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana, and Google’s Android Assistant use natural language processing to be able to communicate with humans in a natural language. Each successive launch features capabilities of the machine to mimic humans in a more efficient manner.

Head of Google Research Europe, Emmanuel Mogenet, explained that Europe was an ideal place to set up a research center. It is home to some of the world’s best universities, and setting up a center there will enable Google to source a strong technical research team locally.

Earlier today, we heard of Microsoft’s acquisition of Wand Labs, an AI-focused startup. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced in March, that conversational intelligence is the next big thing in the technology market, and that Microsoft will work to this end. In the same month, Facebook Messenger also unveiled its chat bots, software that can understand human conversations. The plan, it said, was “to build deeper interactions with customers on Messenger in a way that is contextual, convenient, and delightful, with control at its core.”

It’s fairly evident that the world’s best organizations in the IT industry are investing significant time and resources in the field of artificial intelligence. Google is one of them, and is doing all it can to stay on the top. It made its mark at its I/O Developers’ Conference last month when it revealed Allo, the intelligent chat app. If Google is to stay ahead in the game, it must continue to evolve and innovate. Let’s see if it succeeds in its effort to take the lead in artificial intelligence.