Google Next in Four Words: Cloud, Content Analytics, G Suite, and Partners
by Jim Lundy
Aragon attended Google Cloud Next 2018 in San Francisco this week. Based on customer participation and the buzz at the event, it appears Diane Greene’s grand plan is working, albeit slowly. This blog summarizes some of the key things we observed at the event.
Hybrid Cloud via Google Container Engine
Google discussed the cloud at length and showed off innovative features that won’t lock in customers. Google announced support for hybrid cloud by allowing Kubernetes containers to be deployed on-premise. Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) will now be supported on-premise in a customer’s data center via the Google Container Service. Given the state of cloud migration and the fact that not all apps need to run in a public cloud, this move is a huge win for Google and a bigger win for customers.
Google Istio for Managing Containers
Google unveiled a powerful (and open-source) container and app management layer called Istio. The demo was powerful, as was the implication that Google won’t lock you into its cloud with proprietary tools. See the demo of Istio in the video below:
What Is Cloud AutoML?
Google tends to communicate through technical product names, so let’s break it down. Earlier in 2018, Google announced a major innovation in Machine Learning called AutoML. AutoML allows the average user to utilize and train an algorithm on their enterprise data without coding or data scientist expertise.
AutoML is about content analytics and is essentially low-code development for Machine Learning. Two of the three algorithms being released have to do with content—what Aragon refers to as Intelligent Content Analytics. The AutoML features Google is offering now for public beta are:
- AutoML Vision, an advance over the Vision API. It is now entering public beta.
- AutoML Translation, also moving into public beta and being used by Nikkei.
- AutoML Natural Language, for classifying content. For example, Hearst Magazines is using it to organize content across its different magazine brands.
The Chevron Content Analytics Demo Featuring AutoML Vision
One of the best demos at Google Cloud Next 2018 was given by Chevron. It featured an Intelligent Content Analytics (ICA) demo that started with a map of all Chevron documents related to a particular topic. Google’s new AutoML Vision algorithm was used to locate the right content in the documents that pertained to oil exploration in a certain geographic region. The power of the Vision AutoML approach is that it is an AI algorithm for images. Chevron was able to search the documents and find embedded images.
G Suite: The Return of Google in Office Suite Wars
Google and Microsoft have been in a battle for Cloud Office Suites, the essential tools for work. Years ago, in the early days of Cloud Office, Google won LA County and shocked Microsoft. This started the war, and it created a furor at Microsoft to migrate its office base to the cloud, which it has done quite successfully.
At Google Next ‘18, Google talked customer wins, including recent wins like Nielsen, Airbus, Verizon, and longtime customer Salesforce, who also appears to be in a war with Microsoft over CRM. The numbers indicate that four million enterprises use G Suite; that is up from three million a few years back. The big change is that large enterprises, like Airbus and Verizon, are making the switch and seemed satisfied with their customer journeys to G Suite.
G Suite and AI
Besides its customers, Google continues to innovate by adding more intelligence to G Suite. The new auto-compose feature for emails builds a personal dictionary based on the way you interact with a specific person. It looks very easy to use and goes way beyond spell-check since it suggests ways to complete sentences as you type.
Google and Partners: Better Together
Google had more partners at Next18 than we can remember that contributed on-stage and through press releases. For hybrid cloud discussion (via Kubernetes Compute Engine), Cisco joined Google onstage and will be shipping new offerings later this summer. Pivotal and VMware were among other partners mentioned.
Intelligent Contact Centers: Google Powers Partners
Last quarter, Aragon introduced the topic of Intelligent Contact Centers, which Google just announced. Some of the highlights include:
- An enterprise edition of Dialogflow, its Conversational AI platform:
- Voice beta for Dialogflow
- Sentiment analysis
- Agent Assist
- Voice Analytics (new Conversational Topic Modeler, powered by Google AI, to analyze voice recordings for patterns and insights).
The Platform Partners That Google Highlighted for Intelligent Contact Center Include:
Overall, it was a strong showing for Google, which is acting and behaving like an enterprise provider. Enterprises are noticing and starting to buy.