Google, while a company that is of course based in the United States, is a global brand. With key services such as YouTube, Gmail, Google Maps and Photos available all over the globe, the Internet giant has become much more than your average silicon valley company. Speaking of Google Photos, Google created a whole new system to make sure that a search for a "Cat" really does serve up photos of our feline friends and not something else entirely. This new system was built using neural networks and machine learning, which as its name suggests, gave code and software the ability to learn on its own. Now, Google is opening a new research center in Europe to focus on machine learning.
The new research group will be based in Google's Zurich Offices and will be responsible for a few key areas that Google is hoping will help their product offerings as well as the wider community. The Google Research blog post said that the new team will "develop products and conduct research right here in Europe, as part of the wider efforts at Google". The key areas that the newly-formed reasearch group, dubbed Google Research Europe, will focus on are Machine Learning, Machine Perception as well as Natural Language Processing and Understanding. These areas are not just what helps make Google Photos appear to be magic, but also power Google Translate, Smart Reply from Inbox and a whole lot more. By basing some of the research in Europe, Google engineers should, in time, be better able to understand different languages spoken in Europe as well as further afield.
As is expected of research, a lot of this work will end up in Google products further down the line. Allo is one such example which demonstrated artificial intelligence as a helpful assistant there whenever you need it, and machine learning is very much the core of what makes something like that possible. It's unlikely that this new research center is to help the European Union's Commission warm to Google, but at the very least it's one more reason why Google shouldn't be looked at as Europe's Public Enemy Number One.