The recent release of the Google Prediction API Version 1.2 seemed oddly, well, magnanimous to me! Given the investment of intellectual capital and resources, I am surprised that Google would be so generous. Allowing access to the Prediction API means that Google is giving access to its in-house machine learning algorithms to external users.
The official Google Code blog post, Every app a smart app, dated 27 April 2011, suggested many possible uses for the Prediction API. Some of the more interesting included:
- sentiment analysis of blog comments
- product recommendations
- curating web content for anticipated user interests, and
- email content analysis for more accurate message routing.
The last item on the list has the potential, but not certainty, of causing serious privacy concerns. I’m guessing that customer feedback based on structured data is another potential use for the API.
I noticed that Ford Motor Company has plans for the Prediction API, specifically for commuters driving electric vehicles (EV). Apparently, there is a fair amount of “EV anxiety” due to limitation on range of travel. The Prediction API could be used to mitigate those concerns. AutoBlog is an online publication for automobile enthusiasts. It featured a great slide show demonstrating how Ford intends to make use of the Google Prediction API.
The Prediction API is available on Google Code. This is not the first release of the Prediction API. I’m uncertain whether versions before 1.2 were restricted in some way. (Google often grants API access to developers initially, and later, after ironing out any bugs or unexpected problems, opens the product to the public.)
Do be aware that a Google Storage account is required for access. Visit the Google API Console to get started.