pattern recognition in shifting and information-rich environments

Picasso

Picasso

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View from the top: Peter Norvig, Google’s director of research

Jim Giles  /  New Scientist

“… Norvig says that staff are also encouraged to pursue projects simply because they tie in with Google’s overarching mission – which it says is “to organize and promote access to the world’s information”…  for example, the company has just expanded its Google Earth programme to allow users to navigate through images of hundreds of millions of stars and galaxies. “…

“The firm’s willingness to pursue new ideas also means that many staff are working on original projects rather than fixing bugs in old ones. The astronomy project is just one of many: Google also launched a new facial-recognition system this summer, and recently purchased the Finnish firm Jaiku, which specializes in social networking for mobile phones [see Android] – a sort of Facebook for cellphones.

“Longer-term, says Norvig, his staff are thinking about language translation software as a step towards making every website accessible to all, irrespective of your native tongue. The firm also has a new directory enquiries system that relies completely on speech recognition software. When it comes to maintaining a creative spirit in the office, having projects like these is a crucial advantage, says Norvig. “We’ve benefited from the fact that we are growing so fast and are continually having to reinvent ourselves.” … (full article)

Image credit:  osijek-online

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Newcomb’s commentary:  “It would be an unsound fancy and self-contradictory to expect that things which have never yet been done can be done except by means which never have yet been tried.”  Francis Bacon

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