Google has been working for a while on AI and machine learning and looking at ways to seamlessly integrate them into their vast array of products and services that we are all so used by now. The latest example of this was the Google Assistant getting baked into the Pixel phones. Google now has started using machine learning to optimize bandwidth usage on Google+ using Raisr.
Photographers of all specialities, skills and genres have long made their home on Google+, sharing their work with a supportive community. Whether it’s of toys, travel or street art, each photo has a unique story to tell, and deserves to be viewed at the best possible resolution.
Traditionally, viewing images at high resolution has also meant using lots of bandwidth, leading to slower loading speeds and higher data costs. For many folks, especially those where data is pricey or the internet is spotty, this is a significant concern.
To help everyone be able to see the beautiful photos that photographers share to Google+ in their full glory, Google have turned to machine learning and a new technology called RAISR. RAISR, which was introduced in November, uses machine learning to produce great quality versions of low-resolution images, allowing you to see beautiful photos as the photographers intended them to be seen. By using RAISR to display some of the large images on Google+, they have been able to use up to 75 percent less bandwidth per image that this method has been applied to.
Google launched RAISR back in November, so the protocol has only been around for some time now and is already rolling out on a primetime basis. Google did indicate, however, that it will see a limited rollout on Google+ at first, and if things go well, it will roll out further at a later date to be announced. Google also said that they are planning on thinking up other applications for RAISR in their users’ day to day usage of various apps from them.
Google have only begun to roll this out for high-resolution images when they appear in the streams on a subset of Android devices, they have already been applying RAISR to more than 1 billion images per week, reducing the users’ total bandwidth by about a third. In the coming weeks they plan to roll this technology out more broadly — and we’re excited to see what further time and data savings that this innovation can offer.
In a nation like India where consistent bandwidth is an issue and data is also a tad bit on the costly side, this feature will be a big boon. But the bigger question is, how big is the Google+ user base now? And is it really going to make a big difference to people? We feel that this would have better served people on a more popular product like Google Photos when people are trying to download images from the cloud to their devices. Hopefully Google is listening. And it will definitely be a plus if they open it up to developers and we get more apps around this technology.