Basilica R Client: Deep Feature Extraction for Images and Text

Word2Vec For Anything

Basilica allows you to easily augment your models with images and text. You send us an image or a snippet of natural language text and we send you a vector of features you can use to train your models.


You can install the released version of this package from Google cloud:

install.packages("", repos=NULL)

or from Github (requires the devtools package):


(CRAN submission approval in progress)


This is a basic example which shows you how to solve a common problem:

Creating a Connection

Before embedding an image or text (getting a vector of features), you must first connect to the API with a demo key. SLOW_DEMO_KEY is a key you can use for testing with a low per-week limit, but you can create API keys for free at

# Create a connection
# You can use our `SLOW_DEMO_KEY` (it actually works) or create your own at
conn <- connect("SLOW_DEMO_KEY")

Embedding Text

Getting a vector of features for text:

sentences = c(
    "This is a sentence!",
    "This is a similar sentence!",
    "I don't think this sentence is very similar at all..."

# Returns a data frame with 512 features for each of the 3 sentences
embeddings <- embed_sentences(sentences, conn=conn)
print(dim(embeddings)) # 3 512
print(embeddings) # [[0.8556405305862427, ...], ...]

print(cor(embeddings[1,], embeddings[2,])) # 0.8048559
print(cor(embeddings[1,], embeddings[3,])) # 0.6877435

Differences from Word2Vec

It’s important to know that the embedding you get for a sentence is completely different from an embedding you would get with Word2Vec. Word2Vec returns a word-level embedding, while basilica is trained on longer snippets of natural language text (phrases, sentences, paragraphs). For that reason, results on models where the context of the sentence matter (like sentiment analysis) will get much better results with a sentence-level embedding than with a word embedding.

Embedding an Image

Getting a vector of features for images:

embeddings <- embed_image("/tmp/image.jpg", conn=conn)
print(dim(embeddings)) # 1 2048
print(embeddings) # [[0.8556405305862427, ...], ...]


If you want to contribute to this client, here’s are some of the libraries and commands you will need:


brew install qpdf


When on a branch, make sure all these commands work and pass.