Google's AI-Powered Return to China? A story of talent, backbone tech, hardware, and one Massively Popular Wechat Applet
First things first, the Wechat Applet (猜画小歌 [Caihua Xiaoge]) that caught fire this past week in China (was all over my friend circle as well). This week's first translation is an article detailing how the app works (you draw objects in a way that Google's neural network can identify), why it caught fire (low threshold, down-to-earth spirit, social entertainment/competition value), and why it matters (first time most users in China have directly encountered Google's AI tech and could reflect Google's ambitions to "Return to China")
Second half of the first translation is more interesting: it claims that "If the popularity of Google's WeChat applet is only 'playing house (playing a children’s game),' then opening up an AI research institute in China is “starting a shooting war (doing something in earnest)."
This shows that Google's "Return" is taking place among many fronts not just limited to this massively popular applet:
- Talent: Google's AI lab will compete with Chinese companies for AI talent
- Hardware: While the AI lab got most of the hype, Google quietly also set up an office in Shenzhen which the author says shows Google's ambitions to compete in smart hardware for mobile
- Contained mobile services: mobile version of Google Translate, a software kit for augmented reality applications, and a Chinese version of the Files Go file management service for Android devices
- TensorFow (covered in this week's second translation)