Google Cloud Next 2018: Everything you need to know about this mega-event

Google Cloud Next is a global event organized by Google every year focused on cloud, enterprise-level storage, and data-related aspects. This year’s event took place at San Francisco’s Moscone Center with over 23,000 of the brightest and most innovative thinkers from different domains. The three-day conference included thousands of demonstrations, keynotes, announcements, conversations, and boot camps.

Google Cloud Next events are globally famous for bringing together diverse audiences such as students, customers, developers, CEOs, influences, and the media. Apart from the inspiring, educational, and fun speeches and stories shared by customers, speakers, and tech experts, Google Cloud Next also had some important announcements, new products, and solutions that were launched at the event.

Here is a recap of Google Cloud Next 2018:

Chrome Enterprise


Google announced a better, more innovative, and smarter way of managing and securing cloud work with new updates to Chrome Enterprise. With these latest updates, the company is bringing an inevitable shift in the way companies work and will facilitate better collaboration among the teams.

Cloud-based browser management

With the latest Chrome Enterprise, admins can manage all Chrome browsers running in an enterprise from a single view. All Chrome browsers running on Mac OS, Windows, Linux, or Chrome OS can be collectively controlled, monitored, and managed from this single view.

Better password protection for corporate accounts

Whenever employees use their corporate credentials to sign into a malicious site or log in to their corporate accounts from a public network, there are chances that their user credentials can be scammed through phishing. This remains the biggest security threat to the corporates.

To avoid this, Chrome browser is adding a new policy that companies can enable to enhance the security of their corporate accounts. This is based on the popular security Chrome extension, Password Alert, which will set rules to prevent the use of corporate credentials and accounts outside office environments. This extension can also warn users from entering their credentials in potential phishing sites. This Password Alert policy will be available starting in September.

AI and machine learning


Google also announced various machine learning and artificial intelligence-related APIs, tools, products, and features, which are essentially meant to enhance the productivity of companies along with ease of usage.

AutoML natural language

AutoML natural language enables users to create their own custom machine learning models to categorize organizational content per the company’s needs and requirements. Users can start using this tool, which is currently in beta, without an extensive knowledge in machine learning or development.

AutoML Vision

This is meant to classify images according to the company’s own defined labels using machine learning. AutoML vision enables a user to train their existing machine learning models to classify the images. Currently, AutoML is in beta and comes with a detailed beginners guide.

AutoML translation


This tool enables users to create their own custom translation models. These custom translation models can be used to build translation queries to return results that are specific to the domain.

Cloud Vision API can now identify handwriting and support additional file types such as PDFs and TIFFs. Cloud vision API can now also identify an object in an image.

Cloud text-to-speech and speech-to-text are all new and improved and offer multilingual access to various voices generated and can now “self-optimize” themselves in according to the type of speaker for better results.

Apart from these, several other products such as the Kubeflow v0.2, Cloud TPU v3, Cloud TPU Pod, artificial intelligence in contact centers, phone gateway in Dialogflow Enterprise edition, and various other ML and AI-based tools and services were also announced at Google Cloud Next 2018.

Data analytics

Data analytics is essential in many enterprises and with the right analytics skill, companies can extract various valuable insights from their data. Google Cloud platforms have been focusing on data analytics and accordingly, a number of interesting and innovative announcements were made at Google Cloud Next to accommodate data analytics.

Tools powered by AI and ML were announced for Google Cloud Platform for better data analytics. Tools such as BigQuery ML, BigQuery Clustering, BigQuery GIS, Cloud Composer, Data Studio Explorer, Dataproc Autoscaling and Dataproc Custom Packages, Sheets data connector for BigQuery were a few data analytics tools announced at the event.

Customers leveraging Google Cloud

Google Cloud is already one of the world’s largest cloud solutions and various companies all across the globe are using Google Cloud in various different ways. At Google Cloud Next, some of the biggest customers of Google Cloud gave their feedback on using Google Cloud and also announced their future plans for leveraging Google Cloud in new and innovative ways. Let’s look at examples of how some global giants are using Google Cloud Platform:

eBay

The giant global marketplace has over 175 million active users and is a prime customer of Google Cloud. eBay is working on using Google Cloud services for building advanced machine learning models with Cloud TPUs for image classification and search for users. The company also stated that it is incorporating Google Assistant and AI into its platform.

HSBC

HSBC, one of the world’s largest banking institutions, shared how they were implementing data analytics on Google Cloud to extract valuable insights from large datasets from its over 100PB of data and billions of transactions.

GO-JEK

This ride-sailing and logistics startup from Jakarta is heavily relying on Google Cloud to support their thousands of concurrent transactions, Google Maps for their navigational purposes, and BigQuery to fetch data insights.

Apart from these companies, Twitter, Scotiabank, Sky, Target, 21st Century Fox, Nielsen, The New York Times, LG CNS, Veolia, and others shared how they are using Google Cloud and other Google products in implementing machine learning, analytics, AI, BigQuery, and other technologies for the betterment of their businesses.

G Suite

G Suite, which is already one of the most productive and best collaboration tools available in the market for the enterprise, is now bundled with several other features for even better collaboration and productivity.

Various features powered by AI and ML have been baked in G Suite for the ease of usage and better collaboration. G Suite now comes with a new investigation tool in the security center that helps admins identify internally infected users or systems. This can aid organizations in curbing cyberattacks and reducing potential risks.

Various other features such as smart replies in Hangouts, Smart compose in Gmail, voice commands, and grammar suggestions in Google Docs, Google Voice to G Suite, G Suite enterprise for education, Salesforce Add-ons, and an all-new Gmail are a few essentials among the other G Suite-related announcements made at Google Cloud Next.

Security

Security was given its due importance at Google Cloud Next this year and accordingly, a lot of security-related announcements were made at the event.

Context-aware access

This is meant to enable organizations to define, set up, and enforce granular access to Google Cloud Platform’s APIs, resources, G Suite, applications, and other third-party SaaS apps. These accesses can be enabled based on user identity, location, application domain, and context of the request.

Access transparency

All the access involved in GCP and its related applications and resources are soon to get access transparency, which provides an audit trail of actions taken by Google. Users also get a report on data usage, if Google’s support or engineering unit interacts with your data.

Apart from these two security aspects, Google also tossed in several other security policies and features such as binary authorization, shielded VMs, cloud hardware security model (HSM), Titan security key, location-based access control in cloud armor, and more.

Google Cloud Next: AI and ML take center stage

This year’s Google Cloud Next also included various announcements and launches of IoT-based devices and services, infrastructure services, application development related add-ons and APIs, databases, and more. Most of the tools, products, and services launched are either in alpha or beta stages, while some of them are ready for a global debut. AI and ML served as the two main driving factors for most of the announcements made by Google at the event. With this, it is evident that Google intends to make sure that ML and AI are prime drivers of productivity in the enterprise world.

Featured image: Shutterstock

Sukesh Mudrakola

Sukesh is a computer science graduate by profession and an IT enterprise and tech enthusiast by passion. He holds an expertise in mobile and wearable technologies and is an avid Android fan.

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