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10 big announcements from Google’s Cloud Conference

Brandon Butler | March 28, 2016
From machine learning to open source, and lots of new enterprise-wooing features too.

In San Francisco this week at Pier 48, overlooking the Giants’ AT&T Ballpark, Google Cloud Platform (GCP) executives are holding a user conference to introduce products and services they hope will help make the case for choosing Google in the cloud.

Sam Charrington, a cloud and big data analyst and advisor, summed up Google executives’ pitch best this week on Twitter: “GCP exec team’s operating thesis: ‘Cloud’s not done. The industry’s just beginning the journey.”

Google is seen by many as being behind Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and even IBM in the IaaS cloud market. In a new research note, Deutsche Bank investment analysts predicted that GCP is on a $400 million revenue run rate, which is roughly 20 times less than AWS’s.

But as cloud watcher Charrington notes: “Google came from behind to win in search, mail, maps, browser, mobile based on strength of tech/product. Still room to innovate.”

Below are some of the most significant announcements Google made at its NEXT event, in no particular order.

Machine learning

If there is one big takeaway from GCP NEXT, it is Google’s major focus on machine learning. Google introduced a product family this week with multiple machine learning tools, a cloud-based platform for building predictive analytics models based on data customers have stored in Google’s cloud. “For example, a financial services app that predicts values using regression models, or a classification service for images,” Google explained on its blog announcing the service. “Cloud Machine Learning will take care of everything from data ingestion through to prediction. The result: now any application can take advantage of the same deep learning techniques that power many of Google’s services.”

Google is not alone in focusing on machine learning – IBM, another company vying for IaaS supremacy, has a big focus on ML using its Watson cognitive analytics. AWS and Azure have ML platforms too.

Coming off of its software beating the best Go player in the world, Google’s on a machine learning high.


At NEXT, Google jumped into the cloud management market with the introduction of StackDriver. Google calls it a “unified, monitoring, logging and diagnostics service that makes ops easier.” Here’s the big surprise though: Customers can use StackDriver to manage Google and AWS clouds.

google stackdriver 10

Cloud management dashboards are nothing new – there are a plethora of them. Google is acknowledging that it’s a multi-cloud world though, and is hoping that customers choose Google’s tools to manage their entire cloud usage.

Cloud IAM

One way that Google is attempting to boost GCP’s appeal to enterprise customers is via the introduction of Cloud Identity and Access Management roles. IAM could be considered almost table-stakes for a serious IaaS platform; it manages which users can log in and do what inside of a cloud. These new role features announced provide more fine-grained access controls for GCP environments.


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