Google has announced it will allow other companies to purchase its AI chips through its cloud computing service.
The tech giant designed and developed its AI chips last year and is now offering the chips to others, in public beta for anyone to try out. Google hopes the move will help build a new Tenor Processing Units (TPU) business around the chips.
By allowing Google’s AI chips to be tested by other customers, the tech giant hopes to encourage some fresh faces to its cloud platform. The trial and testing of the AI chips will allow new customers to see the possibilities advanced AI could do for their businesses, encouraging them to join Google ahead of its competitors such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure.
Once customers have gained access to the Cloud TPUs, the Silicon Valley company has various reference models that can help them kick start the business operations using the specialised hardware.
The company has already attracted many businesses to the platform including ride-hailing firm Lyft, which is looking to accelerate its driverless car work with the chips. In order to do so Lyft began testing Google’s new chips to try and find the best solution for its deployment.
Using the AI chips Google has produced will allow companies such as Lyft to quicken the process of development. Instead of spending days to ‘train’ systems, the AI chips reduce this ‘training’ time down to just hours.
Opening up testing into public beta benefits customers for this reason, enabling them to see the potential AI chips could have for their business. From Google’s perspective, opening the door to its AI chips can help it expand its portfolio of customers and encourage more users to take on its cloud platform.
Google is currently charging $6.50 per TPU per hour, which may be subject to change once the hardware is generally available. In addition to its TPU chips, the tech giant has also designed an AI chip for its smartphones.