Google wants to put its data science chops to the test – in real time. This weekend, the company will use data analysis techniques and machine learning during the Final Four in San Antonio to find out what awaits them next in the live games. And after that's done, it will make its predictions about the second half of the match to be broadcast as a mid-term TV commercial.
The company outlined its plans this morning in a blog post and explains how the idea arose from the existing relationship. It had with the NCAA statistical analysis of gaming and competitive data using Google's cloud technology. Google then decided that it would continue to challenge to see what else NCAA data could do.
A team of data scientists, technicians and basketball enthusiasts has been assembled and Google has built a data processing workflow with Google Cloud Platform and technologies such as BigQuery and Cloud Datalab. It was able to expose all sorts of insights, such as who blocked the most shots per minute or whether teams with animal mascots caused more trouble. And then Google decided that it wanted to try to predict what would happen during a live game.
This weekend, it will analyze the data from the first half of the Final Four games in real time and turn that prediction into a TV commercial in minutes.
This is how the Google Cloud team works during the on-site games and will feed the data from the first half into the workflow, where it will be analyzed based on historical NCAA data. When the halftime starts, the team will analyze the data and make their predictions. The workflow technical teams were featured here on the Google Cloud Big Data and Machine Learning blogs.
Before the halftime ends, Google will hand over a newly created TV ad to CBS and Turner, which airs right before the second half begins.
"This is probably the first time a company has used its own real-time predictive analytics to generate ads during a live sports event," said Google.
The experiment is a clever way to promote Google Cloud and other technologies, but it's not the only technology company to make Final Four predictions.
All virtual assistants make their own predictions, including Google's own Google Assistant, Alexa, Cortana, and Siri. But their answers are sometimes more like editorial opinions and not real data science.
You can track Google's NCAA test on its website, cloud.withgoogle.com/ncaa.