Google Cloud Next was largely virtual, with some small in-person gatherings. This approach mirrored the way a lot of us are feeling right now after more than two years of stress and upheaval: yes, let’s get back to business, but let’s do so sensibly. Uncertainty and anxiety have taken their toll on many of us, so with Google Cloud Next, Google invited us to focus on more positive things. What’s driving this positivity? A lot of it has to do with people and how we work together.
Though the event’s keynote did dazzle with some mind-blowing tech (Project Starline is especially goosebump-inducing), Google focused more on the kinds of products, capabilities, and partnerships that
- bring us together in a more inclusive way and help us collaborate in our hybrid world;
- make us better creators and innovators; and
- help us gain insights to take the right actions—actions that drive change for the better—by allowing us to work safely, securely, and effectively with data.
Let’s take a look at some highlights from the Google Cloud Next keynote that illustrate Google’s vision for positive change.
Google and Alphabet CEO, Sundar Pichai, opened the keynote session with this staggering figure: three billion people use the productivity and collaboration tools provided by Google Workspace. If there truly is strength in numbers, Google users are in a very good position. But the real story here is what Google is doing to help these billions connect and achieve their goals, and artificial intelligence (AI) often took center stage.
One example that illustrates how AI powers collaboration is Translation Hub. By providing accurate translations in 135 languages, Translation Hub delivers a faster, more cost-effective, and scalable way for organizations to share vital information with all colleagues and stakeholders in their native languages. This can have a tremendous impact on global teams by providing everyone with a way to stay connected and involved, regardless of what language they feel most comfortable with.
An AI-first company
Though negative stories about AI make for eye-catching headlines, the real news from Google is about the tremendous good this technology can deliver. Throughout the keynote, Thomas Kurian, CEO of Google Cloud, and June Yang, VP of Cloud AI and Industry Solutions, introduced us to some of the ways AI is being used to improve the lives of individuals and communities, including:
- Johns Hopkins University speeding the analysis of CT scans to obtain more precise information about potentially dangerous lesions in a matter of minutes rather than hours
- Ford using AI to enable vehicles to perform preventative diagnostics themselves, thereby delivering a new level of automotive safety
- Google Earth Engine on Google Cloud mapping tree canopies and monitoring land status to help make climate risk prediction and efforts to support climate resilience more accurate and effective
In his opening remarks, Sundar Pichai characterized Google as an AI-first company. Many of the AI capabilities Google offers its customers are based on innovations developed to help Google itself run better. By solving many of its own business challenges, Google is, in turn, helping businesses across the world do the same.
Taking informed action
Data provides the foundation for sound decision-making, so it’s vitally important that your data is accurate, accessible, secure, and available in formats that promote rapid processing and visualization. As Thomas stated, “Data is at the heart of digital transformation.”
To help organizations achieve this state of data maturity, Google provides an open data cloud that helps teams aggregate and understand their data from all sources in all storage formats, from all cloud providers, and enables all styles of access. For example, BigQuery Omni can analyze data in Azure, AWS, and other clouds without the need to move the data. At the same time, the Data Cloud Alliance brings in partners who are committed to open standards and interoperability to help solve the modern data challenges enterprises face and accelerate their path to value creation.
Partnerships and developer ecosystems
Google is also throwing the incredible intelligence and computing speed of Google Cloud behind a number of partnerships in areas such as security and internet commerce, including with cryptocurrency exchange platform Coinbase and the newly acquired cybersecurity firm, Mandiant. CEOs from both companies made appearances to tout the benefits of delivering their software on Google Cloud, including:
- More rapid software delivery at greater scale than ever before
- Freedom from the management of underlying infrastructure, which promotes greater agility
- The ability to analyze current and historical data, with machine learning (ML) and data analytics helping to pinpoint early warning signs and indicators of cyberattacks
Developers, builders, and IT professionals also had reason for excitement, including new learning opportunities, such as the subscription-based Google Cloud Skills Boost—the very first learning subscription of its kind from a cloud provider—and infrastructure enhancements that deliver optimization for seven different types of workloads, including AI, streaming, cloud-first, and Web3.
Faster, smarter, and more powerful
The keynote drove home the idea that we don’t need more tech and more data to be successful. True success can be achieved by simplifying your technology and making it accessible. Companies that have done this—from media to manufacturing, retail, telecom, healthcare, and more—are driven by the ability to analyze and act on data, improve customer experience, modernize systems, push new products and services to market faster, and increase the speed of lifesaving capabilities. With Google Cloud, organizations are becoming faster, smarter, and more powerful.
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