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Google Pledges to Give $25 mn For AI-Powered Humane Projects

Google noted that its deep learning technology has played a key role over the past few years in advancing wildlife conservation, employment, flood prediction, wildfire prevention and infant health

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Google unveils new shopping search features for Indian users. Pixabay

Google has pledged to give $25 million to launch projects that apply Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology to inspiring solutions to societal problems.

Google said the grant will be used to fund the Google AI Impact Challenge contest, which is part of its AI for Social Good program dedicated to “addressing some of society’s biggest unsolved challenges”, Xinhua news agency reported on Monday.

The California-based hi-tech powerhouse is making a “global call for nonprofits, academics, and social enterprises from around the world to submit proposals on how they could use AI to help address some of the world’s greatest social, humanitarian and environmental problems.”

Google said applicants don’t have to be an AI expert and it has worked out an educational guide to help them identify most suitable projects that have significant social impact.

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A Google logo is seen at the company’s headquarters in Mountain View, California, VOA

“An international panel of experts, who work in computer science and the social sector” will assess the proposals to select top winners in the spring of 2019, Google said.

The company said it has been working on AI technology over the past years to roll out projects with positive societal impact, such as forecasting floods, protecting whales, and predicting famine.

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It said its AI technology makes it possible to scan 100,000 hours of audio recorded in the Pacific to identify whale sounds for better protection of humpback whales and other endangered species.

Google noted that its deep learning technology has played a key role over the past few years in advancing wildlife conservation, employment, flood prediction, wildfire prevention and infant health. (IANS)

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Google Maps Captures Over 10 mn Miles of Street View Imagery

The company collects street imagery via a fleet of Street View cars, each equipped with nine cameras that capture high-definition imagery from every vantage point possible

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Google Maps
There's also the Street View trekker on Google Maps, a backpack that collects imagery from places where driving isn't possible.

Google Maps have captured more than 10 million miles of Street View imagery – a distance that could circle the globe over 400 times.

The company announced on Friday that Google Earth now lets people browse more than 36 million square miles of high definition satellite images from various providers – covering more than 98 per cent of the entire population – to see the world from above.

“While these stunning photos show us parts of the world we may never get a chance to visit, they also help Google Maps accurately model a world that is changing each day,” said Thomas Escobar, Senior Product Manager, Google Maps.

The idea of Street View started as a side project more than 12 years ago as part of a goal to map the entire world.

The company collects street imagery via a fleet of Street View cars, each equipped with nine cameras that capture high-definition imagery from every vantage point possible.

“These cameras are athermal, meaning that theya�re designed to handle extreme temperatures without changing focus so they can function in a range of environments,” Escobar added.

Each Street View car includes its own photo processing center and lidar sensors that use laser beams to accurately measure distance.

There’s also the Street View trekker, a backpack that collects imagery from places where driving isn’t possible.

These trekkers are carried by boats, sheep, camels, and even scout troops to gather high quality photos from multiple angles, often in some of the hardest-to-map places around the world.

Google Maps
Google Maps have captured more than 10 million miles of Street View imagery – a distance that could circle the globe over 400 times. Pixabay

In 2019 alone, Street View images from the Google Maps community have helped the company assign addresses to nearly seven million buildings in previously under-mapped places like Armenia, Bermuda, Lebanon, Myanmar, Tonga, Zanzibar and Zimbabwe.

Once Google collects photos, it uses a technique called photogrammetry to align and stitch together a single set of images.

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“These images show us critically important details about an area-things like roads, lane markings, buildings and rivers, along with the precise distance between each of these objects. All of this information is gathered without ever needing to set foot in the location itself,” said Google. (IANS)