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Google buys Kaggle and its gaggle of AI geeks

In its quest to carry us into the machine-learning decades ahead, Google acquires what it calls the globe's largest community of AI enthusiasts.

Machine learning is the next big thing, says Google with its acquisition of AI site Kaggle.
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It doesn't take artificial intelligence to know Google thinks machine learning will be central to your future.

After all, the Silicon Valley powerhouse has been busy creating self-teaching tech that can translate languages, vamp with you on piano, and politely crush you at the ancient Chinese game of Go.

"Over time, the computer itself -- whatever its form factor -- will be an intelligent assistant helping you through your day," Google CEO Sundar Pichai wrote in his first-ever letter to shareholders, last year. "We will move from mobile first to an AI first world."

Now Google has taken another step toward that future. On Wednesday, the Google Cloud Platform said it had acquired Kaggle, what it calls the world's biggest community for data scientists and machine-learning geeks.

Among other things, Kaggle lets AI enthusiasts "climb the world's most elite machine-learning leaderboards," "explore and analyze a collection of high quality datasets," and "run code in the cloud and receive community feedback on your work," according to the site.

The Kaggle team will stay together and continue Kaggle as its own brand within Google Cloud, Kaggle CEO Anthony Goldbloom said in a blog post.

Fei-Fei Li, chief scientist, Google Cloud AI and machine learning, said in her own post that the acquisition would give Kaggle members direct access to the most advanced cloud machine-learning environment.

"We must lower the barriers of entry to AI and make it available to the largest community of developers, users and enterprises, so they can apply it to their own unique needs," Li wrote. "With Kaggle joining the Google Cloud team, we can accelerate this mission."

So much for avenging your Go loss. Tennis, anyone?