Leaders in Artificial Intelligence – Google

By: Staff Writer

A. Presentation of Google

Google Inc. is an American corporation [1] founded in 1998 by Larry Page and Sergey Brin. It is headquartered in Mountain View, CA with more than 70 offices in the USA and 40 other countries around the world (ex. Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Kenya, Russia and the United Kingdom).

Google- Leader in the field of Artificial Intelligence

Fig. 1: Google headquarters in Mountain View, CA.
Fig. 2: Research at Google (Video)

Google’s main mission is to collect data from companies and private computer servers, organize it and make it accessible to everyone through their recognized world largest search engine. This mission requires large amount of resources, sustained research (Fig. 2) and development and innovation in computer science, artificial intelligence and other scientific fields. In its approach to R&D known as “Hybrid Research Model”, the company blurs the line between research and development activities and maintains the right balance at all levels. That is to say, research teams stay involved in engineering activities as much as their engineering counterparts bring a research dimension to their activities. Google has a strong commitment to and supports academic research through grants, scholarships, Faculty research awards, Faculty training, curriculum development and outreach programs.

B. Research and Development at Google

R&D and innovation at Google span over several areas in computer science and is driven by real-world data and experience. Its goal is to create practical applications and bring a significant improvement in quality of service to its millions of customers. In particular, Google’s contributions to the advancement of Artificial Intelligence is best known through advances in speech recognition, language translation, machine learning, market algorithms and computer vision. Of the more than $3 billions of investment in R&D, a large size is allocated to AI. The best way to describe ongoing research at Google is through its most popular publications, applications and innovation and the people who are leading it. The following table gives a simple synopsis of research at Google in Artificial Intelligence theory and applications.

AI Field


Machine LearningMachine Perception
Machine LearningMachine Translation
Data MiningMultimedia data processing
Data MiningAI-enabled Visual search
Natural Language UnderstandingSentence parts prediction
Natural Language ProcessingSpeech Recognition and Processing
Natural Language ProcessingGoogle Now  voice recognition on Android  [6]
Computer Visionmedia annotation

Table 1: Research activities in AI at Google

B-1.  AI applications and innovations at Google

By applying Machine Learning techniques to speech understanding, machine translation, and visual processing, Google researchers gather large volumes of evidence of unstable relationships within evolving interests. Then they apply multiple learning algorithms to generalize from that evidence, new interests.

As its mission states, Google’s intention is to organize all types of media (image, video, sound) and make it accessible to everyone. To this end, it exposes computers to different kinds of media and makes them perceive and build explanations from these perceptions. This process is called Machine Perception and is at the core of Google’s data-driven solutions to problem solving.

Using computer vision technology, Google is very active in annotating media, measuring semantic similarity, synthesizing complex objects and browsing large collections of multimedia objects. Besides, Google is also using meaningful data mining techniques to process multimedia  contained in YouTube video, Android, Google image search, StreetView, Google Earth.  It succeeds the translation of raw text and audio within e-mail messages, books and Android through selected statistical translation techniques that improve over time and is independent of the natural language of the content.

Research in Natural Language Processing (NLP) at Google goes beyond the traditional boundaries of language-dependent, limited domain, syntactic/semantic analysis to reach out to the vast amount of data on the Web in multiple human languages. On the syntactic as well as the semantic levels, researchers at Google develop algorithms to predict the position; words should be assigned to in a sentence and the relationships that bind them. In addition, NLP research is oriented towards multilingual linear time parsing algorithms that are able to handle large shifts in vocabulary.

Google Instant - Leader in the Field of Artificial Intelligence

Fig. 3 1: Google Instant – Predicting part-of-speech tags with NLP techniques in Google search

In speech technology, Google is involved on two fronts: 1) Making natural language a normal communication medium between man and machine (computers, phones); 2) Turning any multimedia object (text, video, sound) searchable and accessible on the Web.

B-3.  Leading figures in AI research at Google

Ray Kurzweil - Director of Engineering at GoogleRay Kurzweil [3] is an author, a famous inventor and a futurist who joined Google in December 2012 as a Director of Engineering. He published several books on health, AI, transhumanism, technological singularity, and futurism (ex. The Age of Spiritual Machines, The Singularity Is Near). His work at Google focuses on “new technology development” as well as machine learning and language processing. Kurzweil’s ambition is to analyze the enormous amount of information collected on Google tools and provide it as an intelligent private assistant. He predicts that this assistant would listen to your phone conversation and read your e-mail in the background and later anticipate on your needs, serve them to you before you even ask.  Another Kurzweil’s goal is to design at Google the technology that really understands the meaning of any human language.

Peter Norvig - Former Director of Google Search QualityPeter Norvig [4] started at Google in 2001 as a Director of Search Quality, responsible for the core web search algorithms until 2005. Then, as a Director of Research he oversaw the machine translation team and organized efforts in speech understanding groups. In particular, one of his interests is a system that can help humans find answers to questions that aren’t clearly defined.  He is a Fellow of the American Association for Artificial Intelligence and the Association for Computing Machinery. Previously, he was the head of the Computational Sciences Division at NASA Ames Research Center where he received the NASA Exceptional Achievement Award in 2001. He published over fifty publications mainly in Artificial Intelligence.


Sebastian Thrun - Research Fellow at GoogleSebastian Thrun [5] is a research Professor at Stanford University, co-founder of Udacity and a fellow at Google.  He initiated the secretive Google X lab [7] which harbours dozen of projects like the self-driving car [9] [10], speech recognition and object extraction from video and Google Glass[8], an augmented reality head-mounted device.




Fernando Pereira - Research Director at GoogleFernando Pereira [11] is Researcher Director at Google. His main research interests are in machine-learnable models of language and biological sequences. He is a Fellow of the American Association for Artificial Intelligence, holds several patents in AI and has numerous contributions in computational linguistics and logic programming.  Pereira has over 100 research publications on computational linguistics, machine learning, bioinformatics, speech recognition, and logic programming.

C. Selected Google contacts

Google Inc.  (headquarters)
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View, CA 94043
Phone: +1 650-253-0000
Google Shanghai
60F, Shanghai World F. C.
100 Century Avenue,
Shanghai 200120, China
Phone: +86-21-6133-7666
Google Paris
38 avenue de l’Opéra
75002 Paris
France  +33
Phone:  (0)1 42 68 53 00
Google Moscow
7 Balchug st.
Moscow 115035  / +7
Russian Federation
Phone: 495-644-1400

Table 2: Google research – Some contacts around the world

D. Further readings

[1] Google. About Google Inc.  URL = http://www.google.com/about/company/ . Retrieved April 16, 2013.

[2] Google. Research at Google.  URL = http http://research.google.com/ . Retrieved April 16, 2013.

[3] Inventor Profile Ray Kurzweil  Invent Now, Inc. URL = http://www.invent.org/Hall_Of_Fame/180.html . Retrieved April 16, 2013. Retrieved April 16, 2013.

[4] Norvig.com.   URL = http://www.norvig.com/ . Retrieved April 16, 2013.

[5] Sebastian Thrun.  Home page at Stanford. URL = http://robots.stanford.edu/cv.html . Retrieved April 16, 2013.

[6]  Google. Google Now presentation  URL = http://www.google.com/landing/now/

[7]  Gaudin, Sharon (2011). Top-secret Google X lab rethinks the future, Computerworld. Retrieved April 16, 2013.

[8] Albanesius, Chloe (4, 2012). Google ‘Project Glass’ Replaces the Smartphone With GlassesPC Magazine.

[9]  John Markoff (2010). “Google Cars Drive Themselves, in Traffic”The New York Times. Retrieved April 16, 2013.

[10]  Mary Slosson (2012). Google gets first self-driven car license in Nevada”Reuters. Retrieved April 16, 2013.

[11] Fernando Pereira.   URL = http://research.google.com/pubs/author1092.html . Retrieved April 16, 2013.