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Thursday, March 09, 2017

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Google is Acquiring a Data Science Community - Kaggle

Oyetoke Tobi - Thursday, March 09, 2017

According to a confirmed source, Google is acquiring Kaggle, a platform that hosts data science and machine learning competitions. Details about the transaction still remain unclear a bit, but since Google is hosting its Cloud Next conference in San Francisco this week, the official declaration about the transaction could be as early as today.

When Kaggle co-founder CEO Anthony Goldbloom was called, he declined to deny that the acquisition is happening. Google itself also declined “to comment on rumors.”

Headquarted in San Fransisco, Kaggle which was founded by Goldbloom and Ben Hamner in 2010 has about half a million data scientists on its platform. The service started earlier and even though it has a few major competitors like DrivenData, TopCoder and HackerRank, it has always managed to stay well ahead of them by concentrating on its specific niche. The service is basically the actual home for running data science, machine learning and competitions. 

Kaggle has since grown to become one of the largest communities of data scientists on the internet. Kaggle at present has more than half a million registered users (or Kagglers) across over 194 countries. They belong to a wide range of backgrounds, which includes fields such as computer science, computer vision, biology, medicine, and even glaciology.

With the courtesy of its competitions, thousands of teams and individuals head over to the platform to participate and compete against each other to produce the best models and solutions for a particular problem set. Since these competitions are based on predictive modeling and analytics, there are various strategies you can employ to achieve the end result.

Google is now buying one of the largest and most active communities for data scientists and with that, it will become more popular.

Kaggle has a bit of a history with Google, but that’s only just recent. Earlier this month, Google and Kaggle teamed up to host a $100,000 machine learning competition around classifying YouTube videos. While that competition had some deep integration with the Google Cloud Platform. 

This competition asks data miners and developers to explore the best way of tagging YouTube videos automatically. It has prepared a data set of total 7 million YouTube, adding up to 450,000 hours of content available to these developers. It has also made Google Cloud Platform available to them in order to help them train their models.

Despite the fact that the acquisition is probably more about Kaggle’s community than technology, Kaggle did build some cool tools for hosting its competition and “kernels”. On Kaggle, kernels are essentially the source code for analyzing data sets and developers can easily share this code on the platform.

Kaggle also runs a job board, which is similar to some competition-centric sites. Well, it isn’t clear yet what Google will do with that part of the service.

From our understanding, Google will still keep the service running probably under its current name.

Both parties involved have been contacted for more details on the acquisition and will update you once we hear any good news.


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