Google Colab is an extremely useful tool to have when creating your Python code that relies on data processing, here’s why!
Runs Within your browser (no configuration)
One of the most common hurdles to jump over when starting up a project in any language is “how can I install / write code with this language?”a huge advantage of Google Colab is that you don’t need to set anything up, everything runs right inside of your web browser! There is nothing to install or setup, compared to installing Python or a IDE of your choice, this can be a much easier and simpler way to get started with projects.
Free Use of Google GPU’s / TPU’s
This is probably the biggest reason to use Google Colab. When we typically run programs on our computer we are relying on our computers hardware, with Google Colab we have free access to Google GPU’s (Graphics Processing Units) and TPU’s (Tensor Processing Units). This is game changing, depending on what you’re running within your code, you can complete certain tasks much faster by using Google’s dedicated equipment. Also, if you’re sharing this script to another user you can pretty much guarantee that they’ll experience the same running speeds as you will, speaking about sharing!
Ease Of Sharing
Since this program runs within you’re web browser you can share it extremely easily! If you have a Google account you can login and access these Google Colab projects easily. Typically, in my experience in order to share code with a client or co worker we would have to ensure the client has the environment set up on their machine (The language installed / possibly the IDE) & download our code and typically email it to them, with Google Colab you can just send the code to them via a link and not only view the code, but actually run the code as well! This is huge in terms of creating an easy barrier of entry of starting a project and accessing the project to other members on the team!
Finally, we can also code out the project at the same time with other members on the team! Much like collaborating on a Google Docs or Google Sheets project, Google Colab allows us to make changes to the code and have real time changes to all members who have access to that file. Imagine this, you and you’re team are working on a project, you notice an issue with the code, you can then make changes to the code to fix that problem and it updates on the other team members end as well! This is a huge benefit when developing a project since you have the ability of multi-user editing!
As you can see Google Colab is a very powerful tool to use in your workflow, it definitely isn’t perfect, but it does hold alot of value for your machine learning projects!