Google teams up with Hugging Face to boost AI development

Partnership will allow developers to create AI models without a Google Cloud subscription

Globally, AI investments are projected to hit $200 billion by 2025. Khushnum Bhandari / The National
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Google Cloud and Hugging Face have joined forces to help with the development of generative artificial intelligence and machine learning.

The collaboration will promote Hugging Face's pledge to make AI more accessible and enhance Alphabet-owned Google Cloud's backing of the open-source AI ecosystem's growth, they said.

Under the agreement, developers will be able to build, train and use AI models without needing a Google Cloud subscription, offering a more accessible pathway to advanced AI development.

Founded in 2016, French-American company Hugging Face is a collaboration platform for the global machine-learning community. It develops tools for building applications using AI and machine learning.

The partnership intends to make generative AI “more accessible and impactful for developers", said Thomas Kurian, chief executive of Google Cloud.

It will ensure developers on Hugging Face will have access to Google Cloud's “purpose-built AI platform … along with our secure infrastructure, which can accelerate the next generation of AI services and applications”.

Worldwide, the AI industry is booming.

Investors put more than $4.2 billion into generative AI start-ups in 2021 and 2022 through 215 deals after interest surged in 2019, recent data from CB Insights showed.

Globally, AI investments are projected to hit $200 billion by 2025 and could possibly have a bigger impact on gross domestic product, Goldman Sachs Economic Research said in a report in August.

“Google has been at the forefront of AI progress and the open-science movement," said Clement Delangue, chief executive of Hugging Face.

"With this new partnership, we will make it easy for Hugging Face users and Google Cloud customers to leverage the latest open models together with leading optimised AI infrastructure and tools to meaningfully advance developers’ ability to build their own AI models."

In a similar partnership in August, Hugging Face teamed up with the US-based chip company Nvidia to connect developers with generative AI tools.

With customers in more than 200 countries and territories, Google Cloud includes the company’s infrastructure and data analytics platforms, collaboration tools and other services for enterprise customers. It generates revenue mainly from fees received for cloud platform services and workspace collaboration tools.

Its revenue grew by an annual 22.4 per cent to more than $8.4 billion in the September quarter, missing analysts’ expectations of $8.6 billion.

Updated: January 26, 2024, 1:28 PM