Google launches fully managed cloud ML platform Vertex AI

Google Cloud has launched Vertex AI, a fully managed cloud platform that simplifies the deployment and maintenance of machine learning models.

Vertex was announced during this year’s virtual I/O developer conference and somewhat breaks from Google’s tradition of using its keynote to focus more on updates to its mobile and web development solutions. Google announcing the platform during the keynote shows how important the company believes it to be for a wide range of developers.

Google claims that using Vertex enables models to be trained with up to 80 percent fewer lines of code when compared to competing platforms.

Bradley Shimmin, Chief Analyst for AI Platforms, Analytics, and Data Management at Omdia, said:

“Data science practitioners hoping to put AI to work across the enterprise aren’t looking to wrangle tooling. Rather, they want tooling that can tame the ML lifecycle. Unfortunately, that is no small order.

It takes a supportive infrastructure capable of unifying the user experience, plying AI itself as a supportive guide, and putting data at the very heart of the process — all while encouraging the flexible adoption of diverse technologies.”

Vertex brings together Google Cloud’s AI solutions into a single environment where models can go from experimentation all the way to production.

Andrew Moore, VP and GM of Cloud AI and Industry Solutions at Google Cloud, said:

“We had two guiding lights while building Vertex AI: get data scientists and engineers out of the orchestration weeds, and create an industry-wide shift that would make everyone get serious about moving AI out of pilot purgatory and into full-scale production.

We are very proud of what we came up with in this platform, as it enables serious deployments for a new generation of AI that will empower data scientists and engineers to do fulfilling and creative work.”

Vertex provides access to Google’s MLOps toolkit which the company uses internally for workloads involving computer vision, conversation, and language.

Other MLOps features supported by Vertex include Vizier, which increases the rate of experimentation; Feature Store to help practitioners serve, share, and reuse ML features; and Experiments to accelerate the deployment of models into production with faster model selection.

Some high-profile companies were given early access to Vertex. Among them is ModiFace, a part of L’Oréal that focuses on the use of AR and AI to revolutionise the beauty industry.

Jeff Houghton, COO at ModiFace, said:

“We provide an immersive and personalized experience for people to purchase with confidence whether it’s a virtual try-on at web check out, or helping to understand what brand product is right for each individual.

With more and more of our users looking for information at home, on their phone, or at any other touchpoint, Vertex AI allowed us to create technology that is incredibly close to actually trying the product in real life.”

ModiFace uses Vertex to train AI models for all of its new services. For example, the company’s skin diagnostic service is trained on thousands of images from L’Oréal’s Research & Innovation arm and is combined with ModiFace’s AI algorithm to create tailor-made skincare routines.

Another firm that is benefiting from Vertex’s capabilities is Essence, a media agency that is part of London-based global advertising and communications giant WPP.

With Vertex AI, Essence’s developers and data analysts are able to regularly update models to keep pace with the rapidly-changing world of human behaviours and channel content.

Those are just two examples of companies whose operations are already being greatly enhanced through the use of Vertex. Now the floodgates have been opened, we’re sure there’ll be many more stories over the coming years and we can’t wait to hear about them.

You can learn how to get started with Vertex AI here.

(Photo by John Baker on Unsplash)

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