Google to invest in 'transformative' machine learning, says new CEO

A man shaking hands with a robot

Machine learning will become an integral part of Google's future technology plans, according to CEO Sundar Pichai.

During his first earnings call (as reported by PC World), Pichai said: "Machine learning is a core, transformative way by which we're rethinking everything we're doing. Many of Google's services already make use of this technology, which has evolved rapidly in the past two years, for voice search, language translation and email filtering.

"We're thoughtfully applying it across all our products, be it search, ads, YouTube, or Pla. We're in the early days, but you'll see us in a systematic way think about how we can apply machine learning to all these areas."

Machine learning is a technology that uses algorithms that can learn from data to adapt to users' behaviour, as well as making predictions based on past data - one example is Google Now, the search giant's Android voice assistant.

Although he didn't offer any specific examples of areas for expansion, Pichai did mention machine learning in a mobile context, which could point toward potential developments in future iterations of the company's Android mobile operating system.

He added: "Our investments in machine learning and artificial intelligence are a priority for us."

Many companies, including Apple, Microsoft, IBM, and Facebook are also investing in similar areas.

In the past year, Google's overall revenue totalled $18.7 billion, an increase of 13 per cent, and its net profit soared 45 per cent to $3.9 billion.

CFO Ruth Porat discussed the particulars of the company's profit, with revenue from Google for Work, Google's advertising business, mobile searches, and YouTube among the most notable contributors. She noted Google for Work's growth, as Google Drive for Work exceeded one million subscribers for the first time.

Pichai said that Google is also investing in its cloud services for businesses and preparing for the future in order to better compete with Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services.

"Our Q3 results show the strength of Google's business, particularly in mobile search," Porat said. "With six products now having more than 1 billion users globally, we're excited about the opportunities ahead of Good, and across Alphabet."

Alphabet, formed earlier this year, is Google's new parent company, and detailed Google's quarterly financial results prior to 2 October, when the reorganisation came into effect.