Google Cloud Next ‘17 came with a flurry of announcements (around 100 actually). We decided to highlight what we learned at the event in case you missed it.
But before we dive in, we wanted to share some highlights of our own. BetterCloud had one of the most active booths at the event. After day one, we had more than 500 people swing by our “Last Call” after party for some VR, karaoke, and billiards. It was a blast. Hopefully, if you were at the event, you got your hands on one of our light blue hoodies (we gave out 1,000!).
If you didn’t make it to the event, check out the #googlenext channel in our BetterIT community for insight into what caught the eye of other IT professionals. You can also watch the keynote highlights here:
On day two of the event, BetterCloud Sr. Product Manager Nate Collum spoke about our upcoming integration with Google Team Drive alongside Google, Slack, and others.
And lastly, our team even got to keep it fresh with some help from Colgate-Palmolive.
— BetterCloud (@BetterCloud) March 9, 2017
1. Reinventing Meetings and Collaboration
Google is clearly striving to upend the idea of enterprise collaboration once again. This time, Google’s goal is to get you into a meeting quicker and change the way you interact during it.
Real-time collaboration takes on a whole new meaning with the introduction of Google Jamboard. This “cloud-connected” whiteboard, which Google is targeting specifically for enterprises, is remarkable. If all goes according to Google’s plan, the Jamboard will be the focal point of all meetings.
But it’s not quite there yet, says Jared Garcia, an IT application administrator for a fast-growing organization that already has two Jamboards. “The Jamboard is the coolest toy we haven’t been able to work into our productivity stream,” he says. “Everyone loves it,” but it’s taking time for people to figure out the best way to “take advantage of it.”
Perhaps the Jamboard, which is expensive ($4,999 plus an annual management fee of $600) and only available for enterprises, will become the next wave of personal devices.
2. “Get on the Cloud…Now.”
“Get on the cloud…now.” That’s what Alphabet Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt said during the day one keynote, and it’s not because you’ll cut your capex costs.
Google sees an opportunity to leverage technology in the cloud to get more out of your data. By applying machine learning, artificial intelligence, and other technologies to data in the cloud, Google will help organizations draw valuable insights from what would otherwise be idle data.
3. A Frictionless Workplace
Last week, BetterCloud CEO David Politis wrote about the high friction-to-work ratio when using older technology. The back-and-forth of email attachments, time spent waiting for a computer to load–all of this is technology-created friction.
“Friction kills productivity,” Politis wrote.
Google showed off new technologies that are geared toward helping organizations move toward frictionless workplaces.
At the moment, G Suite applications, such as Drive, Hangouts, Gmail, and others still exist in quasi-silos. Why should you have to tab from one G Suite app to another at all? Why can’t you open a Google Doc from within a Hangouts Chat? Why can’t you search for an email from within a Google Sheet?
Some of these frictionless work experiences already exist in Google, like attaching a Drive file to an email in Gmail or launching a video conference from a chat.
Still, it’s clear that the G Suite team wants to create even more seamless work environments.
With the new Hangouts Meet, Chat, Jamboard announcements, and even the Gmail Add-on program, a totally integrated (and effortlessly easy) G Suite experience may not be as far off as you might think.
4. Seamless Migration
With the acquisition of AppBridge, a company that helps you move data to G Suite, the Google team is trying to make it simpler to migrate.
“AppBridge has been a good partner to us,” Google VP of Engineering Prabhakar Raghavan told TechCrunch author Frederic Lardinois in an interview regarding the acquisition.
“It’s not just sucking up the files because that’s easy,” he said. “It’s the semantics and metadata of the folder structures and stuff. So it’s a mapping exercise and in many of our largest deployments, they get important. So we decided to bring them in-house and productize their connectors.”
With many large, complicated migrations complete or underway (like Verizon and PwC), it makes sense Google wanted to invest in technology to help make the transition to G Suite easier for everyone.
5. The Democratization of Artificial Intelligence
“AI is about to change the way we live and work,” said Dr. Fei-Fei Li in the day one keynote at Next. Dr. Li is a “newgoogler” and the Chief Scientist of Google Cloud AI and Machine Learning.
What does the future hold for AI and Machine learning? According to Li, “Democratization of AI” must be the next step.
Because everyone, regardless of industry, will benefit from the advancements of AI, says Dr. Li. “We stand to witness a greater improvement in quality of life than any other time in history.”
The democratization of AI isn’t just a Google-only initiative. In fact, many major tech companies, including Salesforce, Microsoft, and Amazon have started a push for AI democratization.
The democratization will effectively lower the barrier of entry, making AI tools easier to use, and placing the power of machine learning and other technologies into the hands of those without a Ph.D.
6. Unprecedented Cloud Security Measures
Google wants you to know one thing for certain: When you move to Google Cloud, your data will be secure. They spent a ton of time during their keynote session talking security. They even highlighted their physical data center security and a new proprietary, custom-built security chip called Titan.
In addition, Google made the following security-related announcements:
- Identity-aware Proxy (Beta)
- Data Loss Prevention API for Google Cloud Platform (Beta)
- Cloud Key Management Service (Generally Available)
- Security Key Enforcement (Generally Available)
- Google Vault for Google Drive, Team Drives, and Google Groups (Generally Available)
7. Cloud Spanner is a Google Cloud Platform Differentiator
Cloud Spanner is a relational database that “delivers up to 99.999% (five 9s) of availability for your mission critical applications.” According to Google, the company “has been handling millions of queries per second from many Google services for years” using their internal Spanner service.
The big deal with Cloud Spanner is that it is the first database to essentially break the CAP theorem, which says that a database can only have two of the three following desirable properties:
C: consistency, which implies a single value for shared data
A: 100% availability, for both reads and updates
P: tolerance to network partitions
You can find everything you want to know about Cloud Spanner here.