Stack Overflow inks AI partnership with Google Cloud


Stack Overflow and Google LLC today announced a partnership that will make coding knowledge from the former company available through a chatbot interface.

Stack Overflow, officially Stack Exchange Inc., operates a popular developer forum that had more than 100 million users as of June 2021. That month, technology investment firm Prosus NV acquired the company in a $1.8 billion deal. Stack Overflow previously raised more than $150 million in venture funding. 

Through the new partnership with Google, Stack Overflow will make coding advice and other technical knowledge from its forum available via search giant’s Gemini for Google Cloud chatbot. The chatbot allows developers to find technical information such as pointers on how to provision Kubernetes clusters using natural language prompts. According to TechCrunch, Gemini for Google Cloud will include citations in each response to help users check its accuracy. 

While at it, the companies are making information from Stack Overflow available through the Google Cloud console. That’s the dashboard administrators use to manage their companies’ cloud environments. Theoretically, requesting information through a centralized chatbot interface can be considerably faster than browsing through forum posts.

Stack Overflow is making the data available to Google through a new application programming interface, OverflowAPI, that debuted this morning. It gives artificial intelligence developers access to the more than 58 million coding-related questions and answers on the company’s forum. Besides Google, Stack Overflow also plans to make OverflowAPI available to other organizations on a subscription basis.

The company claims the API can help significantly enhance the programming know-how of large language models. In an internal test, Stack Overflow inputted the dataset into a 34-billion parameter version of Meta Platforms Inc.’s Llama 2. The company claims the project increased the percentage of coding questions the model can answer perfectly by nearly 20%.

“This partnership brings our enterprise AI platform together with the most in-depth and popular developer knowledge platform available today,” said Google Cloud Chief Executive Thomas Kurian. “Google Cloud and Stack Overflow will help developers more effectively use AI in the platforms they prefer, combining the vast knowledge from the Stack Overflow community and new AI capabilities.”

As part of the partnership, Stack Overflow has named Google Cloud as its “platform of choice” for hosting its forum. Additionally, the company will use the AI services in the search giant’s cloud to power a number of upcoming features designed to improve content curation and user engagement.

The planned capabilities advance a machine learning initiative dubbed OverflowAI that Stack Overflow launched last July. As part of the effort, the company has enhanced its forum’s search bar and released a programming assistant for Visual Studio Code, Microsoft Corp.’s popular code editor. The assistant enables developers to access information from Stack Overflow’s forum and their companies’ internal knowledge bases.

Image: Stack Overflow

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