On Tuesday, Google officially kicked off the first keynote for the 2018 Google Cloud Next Conference, and we're thrilled to be here, taking in the action. The keynote for day one discussed everything from new partnerships, to updated tools, technologies, and more.
As the "biggest Google event ever" according to Diane Green, CEO for Google Cloud, this year's Next conference has been packed full of insights and networking opportunities - with more than 20,000 registered attendees. If you want a quick run-down of the keynote from the first day at Google Cloud Next 18, you can find it here.
Alternatively, read on for some of the biggest announcements we've seen during the first 24 hours of the Google Cloud Next conference.
Bringing AI to Everyone
Artificial Intelligence was one of the biggest themes of the first day of the Next Conference - which isn't much of a surprise. After all, Google is one the main brands leading the way towards a more "intelligent" future for businesses all across the globe. With services like Google Machine Learning engines and intuitive ways to gather and analyze data, Google is on the cutting edge of the AI conversation.
According to the chief AI scientist for Google, Fei-Fei Li, it's time to make the power of AI available to "everyone and every business." Fei-Fei believes that AI isn't just a niche concept for the tech-savvy anymore, it's a way for companies from all verticals to differentiate themselves. Li also acknowledged that most machine learning programs available at present either involve highly advanced solutions like Cloud ML engine to build their custom solutions or less complex options like the Cloud Vision API at the other end.
The new "Cloud AutoML" covers the middle ground in artificial intelligence. AutoML extends the image recognition abilities of Cloud Vision, and during the first day of Cloud Next, Li also announced two brand-new AutoML updates:
- AutoML Natural Language
- AutoML translation
With additional details in a blog post, Li drew attention to the fact that Cloud AutoML Vision, Natural Language, and Translation are available in Beta mode so that developers can access them as quickly as possible. Google also revealed new details about updates to core ML APIs. Google's enterprise edition of Dialogflow is getting a host of updates to allow for more accurate speech recognition and stronger text-to-speech capabilities.
There's also talk of telephony integration for Dialogflow, and enhancements to a Contact Center Ai tool that uses virtual agents and assist strategies to boost the customer experience too.
Adding New Functionality to the G-Suite
G-Suite is another major component of Google's offering on the cloud. This productivity portfolio allows organizations to collaborate more efficiently, using tools that overcome boundaries set by geography and time zones. Prabhakar Raghavan - the Vice President of G Suite applications - announced a handful of useful new features for G-Suite.
For instance, Google's artificial intelligence tools can now add grammar suggestions into your Google Docs. The upgraded software will be able to recognize errors in your syntax, as well as when you use terms like "a" instead of "an." The feature is currently only available for the G-Suite Early Adopter program.
Another message-based update for G-Suite uses AI to help users write messages and replies faster. The "Smart Reply" tool accesses machine learning to compose messages in emails automatically, and hopefully streamline workflows. The app will be coming to the Google Hangouts chat app, alongside another feature called "Smart Compose." The Smart Compose update helps to fill out longer emails that require more in-depth replies.
Smart Compose was first announced during the Google I/O conference in May by CEO Sundar Pichai. However, Google Next delivered it to us as a Business release.
Perhaps the biggest theme in the G-Suite updates for this year was a focus on security. One particularly compelling upcoming feature is an investigation tool designed to give Google admins more control over issues with their cybersecurity. For instance, if you're the victim of a breach, you'll be able to see immediately if any users may have been affected, or any information has been shared externally. The Investigation tool also lets you revoke access to certain documents without having to sift through your security data.
Google is also supporting the move to GDPR by allowing companies to choose where their data is physically stored - whether it's in the US, Europe, or other databases around the globe. Diane Green noted that "Security is the number one worry" for today's cloud customers, while "AI is the number 1 opportunity".
The New Future of Cloud Services
Finally, the first day of Google Cloud Next also featured an overview of a new vision for cloud services, in the form of the Cloud Services Platform. The "CSP" is essentially a portfolio of Google Cloud Services which run both on the GCP and on-premise. The CSP can act as an all-in-one control center for IT administrators, giving them the tools, they need to examine and enhance their infrastructure for better service.
Google introduced the Cloud Services Platform as a hybrid cloud software service intended for application modernization. With CSP, you can access automated, consistent, and reliable operations both in the cloud and on-premise. The system combines Istio and Kubernetes with Google infrastructure, operations and security to boost governance management and reliability at scale. Additionally, the Cloud Services Platform is extensible thanks to its open ecosystem.
You can find more details about the recently-released platform here. The VP of Technical Infrastructure for Google, Urs Holzle also released a blog post on the 24th outlining some of the changes that the things that users can expect to see on the CSP. According to Urs, the platform is intended to help improve security, reliability, and governance, while getting rid of repetitive and insecure tasks on the Google cloud infrastructure. Updates included as part of the new platform include:
- Developer Tools with Cloud Build
- Serverless computing and an open-source serverless framework
- Operating tools like Stackdriver Service Monitoring
- Policy enforcement
- Hybrid computing services
And there you have it, the latest releases from the first day of Google Cloud Next! Stay tuned to find out more from day 2!