Smartphones have fast become the new frontier of artificial intelligence. Algorithms that used to run in the cloud, beaming results down to our devices via the internet, are now being replaced by software that runs directly on phones and tablets. Facebook is doing it, Apple is doing it, and Google is (perhaps) doing it slightly more than anyone else.

The latest example of mobile AI from the Silicon Valley search giant is the release of MobileNets, a set of machine vision neural networks designed to run directly on mobile devices. The networks come in a variety of sizes to fit all sort of devices (bigger neural nets for more powerful processors) and can be trained to tackle a number of tasks.

MobileNets can be used to analyze faces,…

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