Google is an American multinational technology company that specialises in Internet-related services and products, which include online advertising technologies, search engine, cloud computing, software, and hardware.
The Google company was launched in 1998 by Larry Page and Sergey Brin to market Google Search, which has become the most widely used web-based search engine. Page and Brin, students at Stanford University in California, developed a search algorithm – at first known as "BackRub" – in 1996. The search engine soon proved successful and the expanding company moved several times, finally settling at Mountain View in 2003. This marked a phase of rapid growth, with the company making its initial public offering in 2004 and quickly becoming one of the world's largest media companies.
The company launched Google News in 2002, Gmail in 2004, Google Maps in 2005, Google Chrome in 2008, and the social network known as Google+ in 2011, in addition to many other products. In 2015, Google became the main subsidiary of the holding company, Alphabet Inc.
Over the last decade, mobile connectivity has gotten much better—and our data consumption has skyrocketed accordingly. We used to send texts and check webpages on our phones; now we scroll through hundreds of photos and watch high-quality videos.
In Mexico, the third highest Internet penetration country in Latin America, most people access the web through mobile. But even as data plans are more affordable than ever, people are always looking for ways to enjoy the web without using up their data. And access to information is still a challenge for many.
Technology has always played a role in inspiring musicians in new and creative ways. The guitar amp gave rock musicians a new palette of sounds to play with in the form of feedback and distortion. And the sounds generated by synths helped shape the sound of electronic music. But what about new technologies like machine learning models and algorithms? How might they play a role in creating new tools and possibilities for a musician’s creative process? Magenta, a research project within Google, is currently exploring answers to these questions.
Building upon past research in the field of machine learning and music, last year Magenta released NSynth (Neural Synthesizer). It’s a machine learning algorithm that uses deep neural networks to learn the characteristics of sounds, and then create a completely new sound based on these characteristics. Rather than combining or blending the sounds, NSynth synthesizes an entirely new sound using the acoustic qualities of the original sounds—so you could get a sound that’s part flute and part sitar all at once.
Since then, Magenta has continued to experiment with different musical interfaces and tools to make the algorithm more easily accessible and playable. As part of this exploration, Google Creative Lab and Magenta collaborated to create NSynth Super. It’s an open source experimental instrument which gives musicians the ability to explore new sounds generated with the NSynth algorithm.