Google acquires data science startup Kaggle to supercharge machine learning and AI efforts

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To supercharge its work in machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), American search giant Google has acquired the data science company Kaggle, which was founded by Australian tech-entrepreneur Anthony Goldbloom.

Founded in 2010, Kaggle uses the internet and social media to operate data analysis competitions for tens of thousands of scientists worldwide to solve problems. According to Google, more than 800,000 data experts use Kaggle to explore, analyse and understand the latest updates in machine learning and data analytics.

Last month, Google and Kaggle announced a new machine learning challenge that asked developers to find the best way to automatically tag videos.

“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. With Kaggle joining the Google Cloud team, we can accelerate this mission,” Google Cloud AI and Machine Learning Chief Scientist Fei-Fei Li said while revealing the deal in her keynote address to Google Cloud Next 2017. She did not disclose the purchase price and terms.

Before coming up with the Kaggle concept in 2010, Goldbloom — who holds a degree in economics and econometrics from the University of Melbourne — built macroeconomic models for the Reserve Bank of Australia and Treasury. His frustration with a lack of Australian backing for his concept, developed with fellow entrepreneur Jeremy Howard — founder of email provider FastMail — and economist Nicholas Gruen, led him to move to San Francisco in 2011, reported The Australian.

Kaggle secured $11 million in funding from some of the top technology investors, including Index Ventures, Khosla Ventures, SV Angel and the Stanford Management Company. Later on, PayPal founder Max Levshin also joined the company as an investor and chairman.

The Kaggle team will remain together and will continue Kaggle as a distinct brand within Google Cloud. “We will continue to grow our competitions and open data platforms, and we will remain open to all data scientists, companies, techniques and technologies,’’ Goldbloom said on a blog.

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