Supporting Wikipedia with more tools for editors

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Google has a commitment to making information more accessible to people around the world, while ensuring that the information on the web is accurate and reflects the diversity of its users. Just like Google supports open source software development, WikiLoop is one of the explorations on better contributing to the open knowledge movement. To this day, Wikipedia, a Wikimedia movement project, remains a reliable information source that is also available with an open license, which makes it possible for Knowledge Engine of Google—as well as knowledge graph systems operated by others —to draw excerpts from it for Search features and other apps. With the project’s sustainability in mind, Google has contributed back to the Wikimedia movement in a number of ways since 2018. Building on this commitment, Google created the umbrella program WikiLoop in 2019, which hosts several tools for editors that focus on content quality, like WikiLoop DoubleCheck. 
WikiLoop is led by Zainan Zhou—a Googler for the last 7 years, and a Wikipedian for the last 5—who works as a software engineer in the Knowledge Engine team at Google. When he joined the free encyclopedia as an editor, he always wondered how his company could contribute to this open source project. Zainan involved the Wikipedia communities in every step of the development of WikiLoop, connecting with editors from different parts of the world at Wikimedia events, like WikidataCon, Wikimania, Wiki Conference North America, and WikiDevSummit, throughout 2019. The most recent involvement with the community of Wikipedia editors included a consultation and vote to change the name of the most popular WikiLoop artifact, a tool for peer-review of Wikipedia articles, DoubleCheck.

In the past few months, we focused on raising awareness of WikiLoop DoubleCheck. This tool allows registered and unregistered users to mark new edits with tags “looks good”, “not sure”, and “should revert”, a peer review system which editors could use to approve or revert new content on Wikipedia. Since its launch, the tool has witnessed a 309% quarter over quarter growth in tags added, and over 1,000 editors have used it to review Wikipedia content. With the help of volunteer translators and machine translation, WikiLoop DoubleCheck is now made available in 25 languages, and we hope to continue serving more Wikipedia editors in the months to come. In order for Google’s Knowledge Engine to organize the world's information, the knowledge source needs to be healthy. While peer-review on Wikipedia is an established process that has been going on for years, tools like WikiLoop DoubleCheck support the thousands of volunteers who dedicate their time to this task on Wikipedia by making information verification more accessible.

The WikiLoop program was originally conceived as a virtuous circle: providing data and tools to enhance human editor's productivity, and making the Wikipedia editorial input more machine-readable for open knowledge institutions, academia and researchers interested in advancing machine learning technology.

WikiLoop leverages Google’s talents at software development to contribute to global Wikipedia content accuracy by enhancing the existing suite of Wikimedia and community tools for content validation at scale. While WikiLoop is a contribution of Google to the Wikipedia communities, Google and the Wikimedia Foundation have partnered in other areas as well. Learn more about Google’s partnership with the Wikimedia Foundation on the partnership’s page on Meta-Wikimedia

While probably the most popular in the set, DoubleCheck is not the only tool under the WikiLoop umbrella. We are also building data sets and tools and continue to explore other opportunities to contribute to the open knowledge movement. Learn more about tools and other initiatives, like the Coalition call, on the program’s page on Meta-Wikimedia.

By María Cruz  Program Manager, Google Open Source Programs Office

Introducing TensorFlow Recorder

Friday, August 7, 2020

When training computer vision machine learning models, data loading can often be a performance bottleneck, causing your GPU or TPU resources to be underutilized while waiting for data to be loaded into the model. Storing your dataset in the efficient TensorFlow Record (TFRecord) format is a great way to solve these problems, but creating TFRecords can unfortunately often require a great deal of complex code.

Last week we open sourced the TensorFlow Recorder project (also known as TFRecorder), which makes it possible for data scientists, data engineers, or AI/ML engineers to create image based TFRecords with just a few lines of code. Using TFRecords is incredibly important for creating efficient TensorFlow ML pipelines, but until now they haven’t been so easy to create. Before TFRecorder, in order to create TFRecords at scale you would have had to write a data pipeline that parsed your structured data, loaded images from storage, and serialized the results into the TFRecord format. TFRecorder allows you to write TFRecords directly from a Pandas dataframe or CSV without writing any complicated code.

You can see an example of TFRecoder below, but first let’s talk about some of the specific advantages of TFRecords.

How TFRecords Can Help

Using the TFRecord file format allows you to store your data in sets of files, each containing a sequence of protocol buffers serialized as a binary record that can be read very efficiently, which will help reduce the data loading bottleneck mentioned above.

Data loading performance can be further improved by implementing prefetching and parallel interleave along with using the TFRecord format. Prefetching reduces the time of each model training step(s) by fetching the data for the next training step while your model is executing training on the current step. Parallel interleave allows you to read from multiple TFRecords shards (pieces of a TFRecord file) and apply preprocessing of those interleaved data streams. This reduces the latency required to read a training batch and is especially helpful when reading data from the network.

Using TensorFlow Recorder

Creating a TFRecord using TFRecorder requires only a few lines of code. Here’s how it works.
import pandas as pd
import tfrecorder
df = pd.read_csv(...)

TFRecorder currently expects data to be in the same format as Google AutoML Vision.

This format looks like a pandas dataframe or CSV formatted as:

  • split can take on the values TRAIN, VALIDATION, and TEST
  • image_uri specifies a local or google cloud storage location for the image file.
  • label can be either a text-based label that will be integerized or an integer
In the future, we hope to extend TensorFlow Recorder to work with data in any format.

While this example would work well to convert a few thousand images into TFRecords, it probably wouldn’t scale well if you have millions of images. To scale up to huge datasets, TensorFlow Recorder provides connectivity with Google Cloud Dataflow, which is a serverless Apache Beam pipeline runner. Scaling up to DataFlow requires only a little bit more configuration.

What’s next?

We’d love for you to try out TensorFlow Recorder. You can get it from GitHub or simply pip install tfrecorder. Tensorflow Recorder is very new and we’d greatly appreciate your feedback, suggestions, and pull requests.

By Mike Bernico and Carlos Ezequiel, Google Cloud AI Engineers

Open source by the numbers at Google

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

At Google, open source is at the core of our infrastructure, processes, and culture. As such, participation in these communities is vital to our productivity. Within OSPO (Open Source Programs Office), our mission is to bring the value of open source to Google and the resources of Google to open source. To ensure our actions match our commitment, in this post we will explore a variety of metrics intended to increase context, transparency, and accountability across all of the communities we engage with.

Why we contribute: Open source has become a pervasive component in modern software development, and Google is no exception. We use thousands of open source projects across our internal infrastructure and products. As participants in the ecosystem, our intentions are twofold: give back to the communities we depend on as well as expand support for open source overall. We firmly believe in open source and its ability to bring together users, contributors, and companies alike to deliver better software.

The majority of Google’s open source work is done within one of two hosting platforms: GitHub and git-on-borg, Google’s production Git service which integrates with Gerrit for code review and access control. While we also allow individual usage of Bitbucket, GitLab, Launchpad, and other platforms, this analysis will focus on GitHub and git-on-borg. We will continue to explore how best to incorporate activity across additional channels.

A little context about the numbers you’ll read below:
  • Business and personal: While git-on-borg hosts both internal and external Google created repos, GitHub is a mixture of Google projects, experimental efforts and personal projects created by Googlers.
  • Driven by humans: We have created many automated bots and systems that can propose changes on both hosting platforms. We have intentionally filtered these data to ensure we are only showing human initiated activities.
  • GitHub data: We are using GH Archive as the primary source for GitHub data, which is currently available as a public dataset on BigQuery. Google activity within GitHub is identified by self registered accounts, which we anticipate under reports actual usage as employees acclimate to our policies.
  • Active counts: Where possible, we will show ‘active users’ and ‘active repositories’ defined by logged activity within each specified timeframe (for GH archive data, that’s any event type logged in the public GitHub event stream).
As numbers mean nothing without scale, let’s start by defining our applicable community: In 2019, more than 9% of Alphabet’s full time employees actively contributed to public repositories on git-on-borg and GitHub. While single digit, this percentage represents a portion of all full time Alphabet employees—from engineers to marketers to admins, across every business unit in Alphabet—and does not include those who contribute to open source projects outside of code. As our population has grown, so has our registered contributor base:
This chart shows the aggregate per year counts of Googlers active on public repositories hosted on GitHub and git-on-borg

What we create: As mentioned above, our contributing population works across a variety of Google, personal, and external repositories. Over the years, Google has released thousands of open source projects (many of which span multiple repositories) and ~2,600 are still active. Today, Google hosts over 8,000 public repositories on GitHub and more than 1,000 public repositories on git-on-borg. Over the last five years, we have doubled the number of public repos, growing our footprint by an average of 25% per year.

What we work on: In addition to our own repositories, we contribute to a wide pool of external projects. In 2019, Googlers were active in over 70,000 repositories on GitHub, pushing commits and/or opening pull requests on over 40,000 repositories. Note that more than 75% of the repos with Googler-opened pull requests were outside of Google-managed organizations (on GitHub).
This charts shows per year counts of activities initiated by Googlers on GitHub

What we contribute: For contribution volume on GitHub, we chose to focus on push events, opened, and merged pull requests instead of commits as this metric on its own is difficult to contextualize. Note that push events and pull requests typically include one or more commits per event. In 2019, Googlers created over 570,000 issues, opened over 150,000 pull requests, and created more than 36,000 push events on GitHub. Since 2015, we have doubled our annual counts of issues created and push events, and more than tripled the number of opened pull requests. Over the last five years, more than 80% of pull requests opened by Googlers have been closed and merged into active repositories.

How we spend our time: Combining these two classes of metrics—contributions and repos—provides context on how our contributors focus their time. On GitHub: in 2015, about 40% of our opened pull requests were concentrated in just 25 repositories. However, over the next four years, our activity became more distributed across a larger set of projects, with the top 25 repos claiming about 20% of opened pull requests in 2019. For us, this indicates a healthy expansion and diversification of interests, especially given that this activity represents both Google, as well as a community of contributors that happen to work at Google.
This chart splits the total per year counts of Googler created pull requests on GitHub by Top 25 repos vs the remainder ranked by number of opened pull requests per repo per year.

Open source contribution is about more than code

Every day, Google relies on the health and continuing availability of open source, and as such we actively invest in the security and sustainability of open source and its supply chain in three key areas:
  • Security: In addition to building security projects like OpenTitan and gVisor, Google’s OSS-Fuzz project aims to help other projects identify programming errors in software. As of the end of 2019, OSS-Fuzz had over 250 projects using the project, filed over 16,000 bugs, including 3,500 security vulnerabilities.
  • Community: Open source projects depend on communities of diverse individuals. We are committed to improving community sustainability and growth with programs like Google Summer of Code and Season of Docs. Over the last 15 years, about 15,000 students from over 105 countries have participated in Google Summer of Code, along with 25,000 mentors in more than 115 countries working on more than 680 open source projects.
  • Research: At the end of 2019, Google invested $1 million in open source research, partnering with researchers at UVM, with the goal to deepen understanding of how people, teams and organizations thrive in technology-rich settings, especially in open-source projects and communities.
Learn more about our open source initiatives at

By Sophia Vargas – Researcher, Google Open Source Programs Office