Google has acquired Kaggle, a startup whose website has hosted competitions in which data scientists solve challenges that other companies provide. This was announced at its Cloud Next conference in San Francisco and done without disclosing the Terms of the deal which left many speculating.
With hundreds of thousands of data scientists on the platform, this will give Google the immediate ability to broaden its reach within the AI community. As it increasingly goes head-to-head with Amazon on the cloud computing front.
Kaggle competitions have historically provided one way for data scientists to stand out in the crowd in order to get jobs. Now it’s part of Google. But Kaggle’s team will stay together, and Kaggle will keep operating and running competitions — as a different brand under the Google Cloud.
“We must lower the barriers to 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,” said Fei-Fei Li, chief scientist of Google Cloud AI and Machine Learning.
But what does Kaggle get out of the deal?
“Making Google Cloud technology available to our community will allow us to offer access to powerful infrastructure, scalable training and deployment services with the ability to store and query large data sets,” said Kaggle co-founder and chief executive Anthony Goldbloom
Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure, the two public clouds that are bigger than the Google Cloud, also offer data science services. Google Cloud already provides the Cloud Machine Learning Engine, among other managed services for working with data.
Buying Kaggle, and its mindshare within the community, will also probably help with recruiting. Google needs to ensure it keeps snapping up the best talent that specializes in deep learning, competing with other companies like Pinterest (which focuses on visual search). Even if this isn’t a more specialized tech acquisition, it means that Google is broadening its focus to explore more perpendicular approaches to ensure its dominance in AI.