Google Cloud, in a blog post, said it is sending a team of data scientists and technicians to San Antonio for the final three games of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. The Google Cloud team will analyze statistics from the first half of each game, combine that with data from previous tournament games, and predict things that will happen in the second half. For Google Cloud, staging what amounts to a live demo of its AI services on national television is a daring marketing stunt. If Google Cloud’s predictions are inaccurate, the exercise could backfire. But for Google Cloud CEO Diane Greene, who has said she thinks AI can eventually help the cloud unit leapfrog cloud rivals, the chance to showcase Google Cloud’s data analytics muscle to tens of millions of viewers will be worth the risk if it leads to new customers and revenue.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Google Cloud would be picking the winners of tournament games.