It can be hard for companies with major-name brands behind them and shareholders to keep happy to put their money where their mouths are when it comes to open sourcing their content. But Google, a company with more revenue than some small companies, has the leverage to do just that. The tech giant announced this week that its TensorFlow software that powers a lot of its AI processes will be open source.
TensorFlow is currently the software that powers a lot of the stuff that makes Google…well, Google. Its machine-based deep learning and adaptation is driven by this software, but Google has now come out and said anyone can use it and change it, although the need to rewrite code won’t be necessary.
To be clear on the power of TensorFlow, this is the same software that Google uses to power its photo searching options, and as profiled in an article for Wired, experts first proposed that this would be the thing that sent Google’s revenue rocketing to unheard of heights. Instead, Google is giving it away for a very simple reason: AI can go much, much further if more people had the ability to mess with it.
“What we’re hoping is that the community adopts this as a good way of expressing machine learning algorithms of lots of different types, and also contributes to building and improving [TensorFlow] in lots of different and interesting ways,” said Jeff Dean, one of Google’s most important engineers and a key player in the rise of its deep learning tech, in the interview with Wired.
Of course, Google is still keeping some of this great software to itself, but that’s smart considering the projects that the giant still has in the pipeline. For now, this gift of advanced capability is only going to ensure that others with the goals and the know-how have the tools they need to bring their own projects to fruition.