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Google brags it does AI better than the other guys

The company says its custom-made AI chips are up to 30 times faster than today's conventional processors and use much less power, too.

Jessica Dolcourt Editorial Director, Content Operations
Jessica Dolcourt's career with CNET began in 2006, and spans reviews, reporting, analysis and commentary for desktop software; mobile software, including the very first Android and iPhone apps and operating systems; and mobile hardware, with an emphasis on iPhone and Samsung. Jessica was one of the first people in the world to test, review and report on foldable phones and 5G wireless speeds. Jessica began leading CNET's How-To section for tips and FAQs in 2019, guiding coverage of practical advice on expansive topics ranging from personal finance to phones and home. She holds an MA with Distinction from the University of Warwick (UK).
Expertise Team leadership, audience engagement, iPhone, Android, iOS, tips and FAQs.
Stephen Shankland principal writer
Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and writes about processors, digital photography, AI, quantum computing, computer science, materials science, supercomputers, drones, browsers, 3D printing, USB, and new computing technology in general. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces. His first big scoop was about radioactive cat poop.
Expertise processors, semiconductors, web browsers, quantum computing, supercomputers, AI, 3D printing, drones, computer science, physics, programming, materials science, USB, UWB, Android, digital photography, science Credentials
  • I've been covering the technology industry for 24 years and was a science writer for five years before that. I've got deep expertise in microprocessors, digital photography, computer hardware and software, internet standards, web technology, and other dee
Jessica Dolcourt
Stephen Shankland
Google headquarters

There's AI in there somewhere.

Screenshot by Claudia Cruz/CNET

Is the world ready for Google the chip company?

The tech behemoth boasts that the chips it developed in-house to process AI apps are 15 to 30 times faster than today's conventional CPUs and GPUs.

Google says its chips -- called TPUs, for tensor processing units -- are also more energy-efficient, which means they'll use less power to complete a given task.

Even though Google's AI chips aren't in your phone or laptop, they're important to just about anyone online. The chips already are hard at work in Google's data centers, delivering search results, identifying your friends in your photos, translating text, drafting Gmail message replies and screening out email spam.

But Google isn't the only one pursing AI chips. Qualcomm is building AI technology into its mobile chips, which could give machine-learning tasks a boost on your phone when you don't want to wait for a Google server on the other side of the network. Nvidia already is a major AI player in data centers. And Intel's Nervana group is working on custom chips that are designed to train artificial intelligence technology faster.

So even if Google has an edge today, the whole industry wants to speed up the world's electronic brains.

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