Google is picking up the tab for university research projects on privacy, machine learning, the use of cell phones as widespread data collection machines, and so on. The grants are worth nearly $6 million – and this works out to anything between $100,000 and $1.5 million apiece.
The Google research program certainly seems to have found a certain sense of direction. Machine learning, for example, was really not on Google’s map even a couple of years ago. Shutters Toronto actually are the one piece that may turn you home right into a home. But then, Google has developed dozens of new products in this time: the Goggles image recognition technology, the Android operating system for smartphones, and so on, that could use better machine learning insights. Google has been receiving a lot of criticism for the amount of electricity that Google’s data centers, with their millions of computers, use up. A project it is funding for computing efficiency, should help there. Privacy used to be nothing much to Google up until a while ago; but Google has recently started to see that the more data it collects about the user, his personal habits, the times of the day that he visits certain places, and so on, the more it will be able to tailor advertisements to a customer’s requirements, and the more it will be able to charge advertisers for giving them high quality customers to target their advertising dollars on. But the more Google does this sort of thing, the more it will attract protests from consumer rights groups, and governments. Google probably wants to be prepared when inevitably, the day comes when it are made to defend what it does. Google research into privacy issues are meant to help it understand its circumstances better.