Continuing its evangelism of machine learning, on Wednesday Google said two of its machine learning APIs introduced in March have advanced into open beta status.
The first of these is the Cloud Natural Language API, which lets developers parse the meaning and structure of text. With initial support for English, Spanish, and Japanese, the API provides tools to understand the sentiment expressed in text, the relevant entities discussed (e.g. people, places, events, products, and media), and the syntax of the text.
It is, in short, a way to help software understand. For companies, potential applications might include understanding how people feel about a product based on the sentiment expressed in online reviews, or how customers feel about support interaction based on analysis of transcribed calls.
As an example of how sentiment analysis can be applied, in a separate blog post Google explored sentiment analysis data for stories published in The New York Times over the first two weeks of July. Google’s Cloud Natural Language API found US news stories had the most negative sentiment, while arts stories were the most positive. This lends support to arguments that news consumption is bad for you.