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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.

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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