Introducing Simple ML for Sheets: A No-code Machine Learning Add-on for Google Sheets

Posted by Mathieu Guillame-Bert, Richard Stotz, Luiz GUStavo Martins, Ashley Oldacre, Jocelyn Becker, Glenn Cameron, and Jan Pfeifer

Today at the Women in ML Symposium thousands of ML developers and enthusiasts gathered to learn about the latest ML products from Google. Advances in machine learning (ML) technology continue to power breakthroughs in many fields. From helping to protect the Great Barrier Reef to helping amputees reclaim mobility. However, such work often requires deep ML expertise, programming experience, and time.

To make ML accessible beyond ML experts, we’ve been working on Simple ML for Sheets. Simple ML is an add-on, in beta, for Google Sheets from the TensorFlow team that helps make machine learning accessible to all. Anyone, even people without programming or ML expertise, can experiment and apply some of the power of machine learning to their data in Google Sheets with just a few clicks. From small business owners, scientists, and students to business analysts at large corporations, anyone familiar with Google Sheets can make valuable predictions automatically.

For example, if you’re a car repair shop owner who keeps records of past repairs with data points like car make, repair type, and mileage, you can use Simple ML to predict the number of hours necessary to fix a car. Scientists can also benefit from ML in countless domains. For example, if you are studying molecular aging, you can predict a person’s age based on DNA methylation data. In either use case, these ML-powered predictions are at your fingertips in just a few clicks, all via the familiar Sheets interface you use every day.

Simple ML works in three overall steps:

  1. Open your data in Google Sheets.
  2. Select and run the task that best describes what you want to do, like predicting missing values or spotting abnormal ones. Tasks are organized so you can use them even if you don’t know anything about Machine Learning.
  3. After a few seconds, once the model has made a prediction, you can explore using the result to improve your business decisions, automate tasks, or do any of the seemingly endless applications that ML enables. If you are new to ML, remember these are just statistical predictions, of course, and may be inaccurate.
moving image showing user predicting missing penguin species with Simple ML for Sheets
Predicting missing penguin species with Simple ML for Sheets

Even if you already know how to train and use machine learning models, Simple ML in Sheets can help make your life even easier. For instance, training, evaluating, interpreting, and exporting a model to Notebook takes only 5 clicks and as little as 10 seconds. Since Simple ML in Sheets is based on state-of-the-art ML technology that also powers TensorFlow Decision Forests , and pre-optimized, you might even get better models.

Of course, succeeding with ML involves far more than training a model and making a prediction. If you are new to ML, you should begin with Google’s free machine learning courses, including problem framing.

Because Simple ML runs on your browser your data stays right where you’re working – secure in your spreadsheet in Google Sheets. The models get automatically saved to Google Drive so you can easily share them with the rest of your team. And because Simple ML uses TensorFlow Decision Forests underneath, you can export models trained in SimpleML to the TensorFlow ecosystem!

Want to try it? Follow the introduction tutorial to get started. Then, try the add-on on your own data! Feedback is welcomed. And as always, use AI responsibly.

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