Gmail Now Uses TensorFlow to Detect 100 Million More Spam Emails

Ruben Fields
February 8, 2019

The report adds, "TensorFlow makes managing this data at scale easier, while the open-source nature of framework means new research from the community can be quickly integrated".

TensorFlow is an open-source machine learning (ML) framework developed at Google, and was launched in 2015. However, Google wants to put that to an end with its new AI, which will block 100 million extra Gmail spam messages per day. It was done by employing artificial intelligence (AI) apart from the traditionally used rule-based filters which block out only the most obvious spam.

Google LLC is beefing up Gmail's anti-spam capabilities with new protections, powered by its machine learning software framework TensorFlow, that are created to complement its existing algorithms. In the context of Gmail's more than 1 billion users, this isn't necessarily a huge gain. Applying machine learning at scale can be time-consuming and complex.

Before implementing TensorFlow-powered protection features, Google's effectiveness in blocking spam, phishing, and malware attempts was pretty great, but now it's essentially flawless.

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Google is blocking the extra 100 million spam emails by identifying categories that used to be hard to detect.

TensorFlow also provides the flexibility to train and experiment with different models in parallel.

The Mountain View company went on: "These new protections complement existing ML and rules-based protections, and they've successfully improved our detection capabilities". By using TensorFlow to scan incoming emails, the company is now able to block image-based messages, emails with hidden embedded content and messages from new domains trying to hide a low volume of spam within legitimate traffic. Machine learning also lets Google personalise its protections to each user. This process has been taking place for years, says Kumaran, with Gmail looking for certain signals from users about what they judge to be spam, but TensorFlow is "turning those signals into better results".

Chances are, you have more emails in your spam folder than your inbox on Gmail.

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