Google’s innovation and creativity never ceaseto amaze, and one of our favorite features is its goal of honoring different men, women, and key holidays through the Google doodle on their search engine homepage. In honor of German composer Johann Sebastian Bach’s birthday, Google created and released its first artificial intelligence-powered doodle.
Google made the doodle available internationally in over seventy countries and set it to run for a full forty-eight in most of those countries. Users had the freedom to create their own melody and allow the Al built into the doodle to form the melody they created into one that matches Bach’s own style.
But that’s not all the doodle was built to do! Users could also hear their melodies in a rock genre, seeing how it transforms the notes to sound like a Bach melody, and exactly how Google did all this is in a behind-the-scenes video they released later on.
Google's Magenta, Google's People + AI Research team, and doodle teams collaborated together to create the Bach doodle. Magenta is a mind-blowing project that uses machine-learning to create music – not just a single melody but harmonies and smooth transitions, as well. Then, Google's PAIR program does the research to creates technologies that shape the approach to work with AI.
The Google team created a model called Coconet through Magenta which was able to pick out Bach’s individual style through a dataset of over 300 of his own harmonies. As a result, Coconet could match the doodle users created to Bach’s works. "Coconet is trained to restore Bach’s music from fragments: we take a piece from Bach, randomly erase some notes, and ask the model to guess the missing notes from context. The result is a versatile model of counterpoint that accepts arbitrarily incomplete scores as input and works out complete scores," said the blog post from Magenta.
According to the Julian Calendar, Bach was born on March 21, which is now March 31 on the Gregorian calendar used today. Google decided to honor him on the original date of March 21, however, and then had the doodle run for forty-eight hours instead of just twenty-four.
What Google wanted was for users to learn more about the composer himself as they created melodies through the doodle, and what a creative and fun way to remember the famous composer! The doodle is still accessible now in the doodle archive online, so if you didn’t get a chance to use it for yourself, you still can.