Category Archives: Google

Google and Salesforce come together to twist the cloud market

Two major giants in the world of cloud computing, Google and Salesforce, entered into a key partnership on Monday.

Under the terms of this agreement, Salesforce’s clients who don’t currently use  G Suite will get this package free for one year. This move is expected to increase the user base of G Suite. Also, Salesforce will add Google’s cloud service to its list of certified partners. Interestingly enough, AWS is on this list as well.

Besides G Suite, Google’s Analytics 360 service will be integrated with Salesforce’s products. This Analytics 360 is a marketing tool that will help Salesforce’s clients to track sales and other advertising-related information. At this point in time, not all Salesforce products have this feature, so it should work well for both companies. This addition of Google’s products is sure to help Salesforce to reach to a wider audience with its products while for Google, it’s a big win obviously because it has access to the entire customer base of Salesforce.

This deal is not so much of a surprise really because earlier this year, a few analysts had predicted that one of the major players can make a bid to acquire Salesforce. One analyst even went to the extent of saying that Google should pay $73 billion to acquire Salesforce. At this point though, there is no mention of a takeover either by Google or Salesforce. In fact, Google even refused to comment on whether it will eventually take over Salesforce.

This deal also represent Google’s strategy to enter into strategic partnerships with other companies to ensure that both the players get mutual benefit through it. In this series, the deal with Salesforce maybe the biggest and could give Google one of the biggest market advantage.

Let’s see how this plays out for both the companies in the short as well as long run.

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Google and Cisco join hands for hybrid cloud

In today’s age of intense competition, partnerships seem to be the best way to increase market share. That’s probably why we’ve seen so many companies join hands with others to create a win-win partnership for everyone involved.  The latest in this trend is the partnership between two IT giants – Google and Cisco.

Both the companies announced that they would join hands to help their respective customers create efficient hybrid cloud solutions. Through this partnership, both companies want to bring the power and advantages of cloud to the on-premise environment of their customers. To do this, they would be using the Kubernetes container created by Google. It also looks like they would be using the Istio service mesh for connecting different microservices between clouds.

Though the companies did not go into detail as to how they would implement this idea, we can understand that their solutions will take into the security and policy configurations of their respective enterprise environments and at the same time, will provide the necessary networking and performance data in real-time.

Another aspect that we know is Apigee, the company that Google acquired last year, will act as the medium through which legacy applications can connect to modern applications, and maybe even tap into the power of cloud. This is a good move because there are a ton of legacy applications in the on-premise environment, so it’s important that a fair amount of support is given to these as well.

This partnership has been in the pipeline for some time. Tech people of both the companies have been working together over the past few months to understand the feasibility and planning required to create a combined hybrid cloud. As of now, the plan is to roll out the combined service to a limited set of customers by the first week of 2018 and have it available to the general public by the second half of 2018.

A considerable stake is present in this partnership for both the companies. As for Google, it’s going all out to catch up with its competitors, Microsoft and AWS, who seem to be moving higher with every quarter. As for Cisco, it wants to redefine its business and continue to stay relevant in a changing tech world.

Let’s wait and see how this partnership plays out to both these tech giants as well as the general public at large.

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What is Cloud Firestore?

Cloud Firestore is yet another cloud product from the stables of Google.

Firestore is a new database service for Firebase, Google’s app platform for developers. Firebase has been fairly popular with developers because it helps you build apps on the Google cloud platform without worrying about managing the underlying infrastructure. This way, you have the flexibility to focus on the functionality you want and at the same time, you get a world-class platform for deployment. In addition, you also get the necessary insights and analytics that can be shared across all Google’s products.

Another salient aspect of Firebase is that it gives developers access to a real-time database that is effectively managed and scaled by Google. Due to such advantages, Firebase has caught on well with developers.

This new Firestore database is sure to make Firebase a more attractive choice for developers, as it complements the existing Firebase Realtime Database. IN fact, if you look closely, there’s quite a bit of overlap between these two databases.

So, why do we need Firestore?

Over time, Google realized that developers hit some issues during the process of development and these issues could not be solved with the existing realtime database. This is why a new service was introduced, so it could ease these pain points and make the development process more enjoyable and productive for developers.

Realtime databases, in general, come with many limitations. First off, it can’t handle a ton of complex queries and secondly, the platform itself was architected to have a limit of 100,000 connected devices. Some of the largest Firebase’s customers hit this limit fairly quickly, and this means, they are forced to spread their database among different shards. All this negates the use of a realtime database and makes them a lot less effective.

Firestore was introduced to overcome these limitations.

Some critics argue that an easier way is to redesign the realtime database completely. But that’s easier said than done as it would entail a lot of time and resources. Instead, the Google team chose to build another database that would overlap the existing database, and at the same time, will be free of the existing limitations.

In addition, Firestore gives the choice to build offline apps using the local database for web, iOS and Android platforms. Users can also sync data across apps in real time, and this adds to the attractiveness of Firestore.

To top it, small customers don’t really have to make the switch to Firestore right away.

Overall, this is a good move by Google and one that could boost the usage of Google cloud platform.

 

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Google Cloud’s impact on Indian businesses

India continues to be one of the fastest growing economies in the world, and a substantial part of it is driven by the IT industry. While India is known as the software capital of the world, what is relatively unknown is the demand it is fueling for cloud services. In fact, the public cloud services market is expected to grow by 38 percent in 2017, amounting to a total of $1.81 billion this year. In 2016, it was only $1.32 billion. By 2020, these numbers are expected to reach $4.1 billion.

These numbers show the rapid strides that India is making in the cloud industry. So, it’s little wonder that all major cloud services companies are making a beeline to this country.

Google Cloud is one of the early entrants into the Indian market and it is continuing to expand its presence here. Already, it has helped many companies to make the transition to cloud services. A case in point is Hike Messenger. This company was India’s own version of the popular Whatsapp messaging service. It is estimated that there are about 100 million registered users for this app and more than one billion messages are exchanged every day. Recently, this company has expanded its services and is offering new ones like Hike Wallet and Hike News.

This company runs on the Google Cloud Platform. In a Google summit held in India, the Vice-President of Engineering and Technology at Hike Messenger, Vishvanath Ramarao, said that there is a 30 percent increase in speed after Hike migrated to the Google Cloud Platform. He further opined that Google Cloud gives Hike the flexibility to scale with efficiency, thereby reducing their time  to market.

Besides Hike, it looks like other Indian companies have also gained immensely by using Google Cloud. Some examples include Ashok Leyland, Delhivery.com, Royal Enfield, Tata Sky, Walnut and more. Such high adoption rates has helped Google to register almost a 3X growth over the last 12 months.

Currently though Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the leader in the Indian cloud market, followed by Microsoft Azure. Google stands third in terms of both market share and revenue.

To take on competition from these two players and also to get a larger slice of the prospective Indian cloud market, Google is taking many proactive steps. One of the important measures is to setup a cloud region in the Indian city of Mumbai by the end of this year.  This way, it’s customers can enjoy low latency and fast speeds. Both AWS and Azure have local datacenters already, so Google is a little late here.

Also, it’s moving actively to have a role in government and banking projects, in addition to building a diverse cloud ecosystem geared for Indian businesses.

Let’s see how much of these translate into higher revenue and market share for Google.

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Google Cloud Acquires Bitium

Google Cloud has acquired a company called Bitium for an undisclosed sum, and this company is soon expected to become a part of the Google Cloud team.

Bitium was founded in 2012 and it provides identity and access management service for its customers. With this product, customers can give their employees a single access credential for using multiple applications like Google apps, Office 365, CRM, marketing tools, social media and more.

Also called as single sign on (SSO), this product gives customers greater security than before as IT administrators have a centralized process to control employees’ identity throughout the organization. At a time when insider activity is becoming an increasing cause of breaches, this is definitely a product that can control that.

In addition, customers need to remember only one set of username and password details to access all applications. As a result, this product from Bitium offers a high level of security and flexibility for organizations to manage their employee access and identity.

From an organization’s point of view, it’s a great way to reduce nefarious and “shadow IT” activities by its employees, as they can readily access many cloud-based applications.

These advantages are what caught Google’s attention too.

With this acquisition, Google plans to continue the good work that Bitium is doing, but all that will now happen under Google’s name. Going forward, Google plans to extend this application to its partners as well. At the same time, it plans to keep this application open for third-party providers, so that they can integrate it along with Google Cloud and G suite.

The larger reason for this acquisition is to take on competition from Amazon Web Services and Microsoft. Repeatedly, research has shown that cloud security is one of the factors that deter companies from moving to the cloud, With such an identity and access management system, cloud security is greatly increased as the chances for employees to access unauthorized content is greatly reduced. Google hopes that such an increased security can enthuse more customers to opt for Google Cloud over that of AWS and Azure.

Overall, this looks like a good move for Google as it can get the much-needed edge that it’s looking for against its stronger opponents – Amazon and Microsoft.

But, how it translates will be interesting and time will best judge the impact of this acquisition on Google’s customer base and profitability.

 

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Who is building the world’s smartest cloud?

Cloud computing has come a long way since it first came into existence almost a decade ago. During this time, it has evolved to transform application development, hosting, deployment, administration and more. In these years, it has also helped businesses to streamline their processes, increase productivity, reduce costs and widen its customer base.

But is that all? Can we expect cloud computing to remain in this robust way over the next decade?

Definitely not, as some of the major cloud service providers in the world are constantly working to create cloud platforms that are faster, less expensive and can store more data. In many ways, they are always working to create the world’s smartest cloud quicker than that of their competitors.

Let’s see how the three major cloud providers, namely, Alphabet, Amazon Web Services and Microsoft, have fared so far.

Alphabet

During the annual developers conference conducted by Team Google, the showcased new services that will herald the next phase of cloud computing. It’s powerful data processors, popularly called as tensor processing units, are using machine learning and artificial intelligence to automate many of the tasks that are currently being done by humans today.

Each of these tensor processing units or TPU for short, will have a minimum of 180 teraflops of processing power and each pod will have a group of 64 TPUs. You can now imagine the massive computing power that Google plans to offer soon.

It is expected to be soon available for individuals and businesses through Google Cloud Platform.

Amazon

Amazon has been beefing up efforts to have its own smart cloud. To this end, it is integrating artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities into its platform, so developers can get more out of the AWS platform.

It is also integrating a host of other tools such as Amazon Lex chatbot, Alexa skills set and more to give greater depth, versatility and power to its platform.

Microsoft

Microsoft is not to be left behind in this race for the smartest cloud. Project Brainwave, a next-generation project comprising of some of the most talented of researchers, is working on field-programmable gate array chipsets that can power artificial intelligence.

Many analysts predict that this platform would be more versatile and powerful when compared to the one that’s being developed by Google. This is partly because artificial intelligence is expected to change the way applications are built and deployed, so a platform with built-in AI capabilities is sure to have an edge.

So, who is going to win this three way battle between AWS, Microsoft and Alphabet for creating the smartest cloud? At this point, Microsoft seems to have the lead, but it’s going to be hard to say who will lead this market. Regardless of the winner, this is sure to be an interesting ridr for customers.

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What’s New in Google’s Cloud Speech API?

Speech recognition is a software that allows you to convert video into text. This means, you can speak into your phone and the same will be converted into a text that you share with others through email or social media. Cool, right?

Many tech companies, especially owners of mobile operating systems have been working extensively to improve the quality of this cloud recognition software. One of the pioneers of speech recognition software is Google as its Cloud Speech API is one of the most advanced and sophisticated products in this genre.

If you’re wondering what in the world is Cloud Speech API, it’s nothing but a piece of software that allows third-party companies and its developers to integrate Google’s speech recognition software into their own products.

You can do a ton of things with your Cloud Speech API such as recognizing an audio, integrating a storage, filter inappropriate content and so much more. One of the most widely used applications of Google’s Cloud Speech API is in contact centers, where any call can be routed to the concerned department by listening to what the customer is saying.

Many companies have been using this API to give a better experience for their users. A case in point is Twilio that uses this API to convert speech into text for all its products, thereby giving users the flexibility to directly talk to the software instead of going through the more laborious process of typing it out.

Due to the growing use of this product, Google has been working to enhance its functionality. Recently, it announced many changes to the Cloud Speech API to make it more usable and even boost its adoption around the world.

One of the notable changes it made is the world-level time offsets, more popularly known as timestamps. So, what’s the use of this feature? It will make it easier than ever before to find the exact spot where a particular word occurs. For example, let’s say, you have the audio of an important person’s interview and you want to hear just what he said on a particular topic. In the past, you have to go through the entire audio to identify where he made a particular statement. With this new feature, you can simply search for a keyword in an audio and it will bring up all the timestamps where that word was uttered.

This way, you’ll spend less time in finding what you want, thereby increasing your productivity. What’s more? You can even enable text to be display while the audio is playing in real-time. It’s something similar to the closed captions you can see while a video is playing, except that it’s mostly pre-written. Here, you can get the text as you hear.

According to Dan Aharon, the product manager, this feature was something that customers have been requesting for some time now, so Google has worked to offer the same to them.

In addition, the new version will also support longer files. Instead of the maximum 80 minutes, you can now have 180 minutes of video transcribed for you.

All these are sure to add to the appeal of Google’s Cloud Speech API.

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Google Brings Startups Under its Fold

Startups are the drivers of future business. Regardless of their geographic location, startups tend to bring in innovation and new products to the society. But, it’s definitely not an easy road, especially in terms of financial capital.

Almost every startup has budget constraints, so they’re forced to make certain cutbacks. A lot of these come in the areas of sales and marketing, and some of it in technology.

Google wants to change that. While it can’t provide much help in marketing and sales, it definitely is reaching out to companies to give them a solid technological platform needed to execute their ideas. In fact, one of Google’s strategy has been to bring many startups to its platform.

Startups such as Planet Labs, Oden technologies and more that operate in a range of different industries such as space satellites, climate change, smart cities and more want to make use of this offer from Google. For example, Planet Labs is a startup company that wants to image the earth everyday to highlight global change. This company has switched to Google Cloud to host its images and for data processing.

Planet Labs is not the only company. There are hundreds of other startups that are switching to Google Cloud because Google is offering a plan that combines a ton of storage with computing, and of course at affordable rates. So, these companies get the best computing power within their budgets, so why not tap into this technological powerhouse to further their own research and development.

In another interesting case study, Google Cloud partnered with the Indian Satellite Research Organization (ISRO) to launch 88 dove satellites into space. This is the largest satellite constellation ever to reach the space, and this organization uses Google Cloud.

A London-based startup called Improbable is also tapping into the computing power of Google Cloud. This company aims to provide the technologies that will lay the foundation for smart cities. It currently uses Google Cloud to simulate entire cities and to give the lawmakers and public, an impact on every decision, starting from planning to garbage disposal.

One of the reasons all these startups choose Google is the mutual understanding that the startups have to succeed for Google to get a strong hold in this market and vice-versa. This mutual benefit forges strong partnerships that eventually augurs well for everyone involved.

For Google too, this is a potent strategy that can bring rich rewards in the future. When these startups grow, they’ll continue to use Google Cloud platform for their needs. With more usage comes more revenue, so Google will eventually make its money too.

It is also in a position to empower local communities and maybe even help them bring to the world some life-changing products.

Besides, Google can establish a good rapport with these startups and maybe even get a boost in its brand image –  all of which can lead to more customers and a large revenue.

In all, this is a good strategy that can help Google to catch up with competition from Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft and IBM.

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Google’s Next Frontier – a New AI Chip

Artificial intelligence, AI for short, is almost overtaking software to become the preferred technology for all operations. This is not a surprising trend because AI is the next generation of machines that come with the ability to learn and implement certain behavior without needing a constant intervention from humans. AI is becoming a reality sooner than we may have guessed, and Google wants to lead the way.

During the company’s annual conference, its CEO, Sundar Pichai, announced that the company will be releasing a new computer chip that can perform advanced machine learning and AI tasks. Called Cloud Tensor processing Unit, this chip is named after Google’s open-source machine learning framework called TensorFlow.

Machine learning, deep learning, supercomputers and AI technologies have been transforming tech companies and its clients over the last few years, and this announcement from Google has made this trend official now. In many ways, AI is transforming Google and its operations too, so it is only natural that this company wants to set the trend and capture the AI market even when it is in its nascent stages.

So, what’s this new chip all about? What’s new in it? Well, lots!

This chip is being dubbed as the first one that can work at blistering speed not only in its executions, but also in its ability to learn. In other words, this chip can be trained incredibly fast and this can be a vital difference that can set this chip apart from others in the same category.

Let’s take a simple example. You want a machine to identify a pizza from other foods such as hot dogs, salads and burgers. To do this, you’ll have to feed in hundreds of different images of pizzas along with other foods to help the system to learn. The sheer amount of calculations needed to train such a model is mind-boggling and complex, so it can take days or even weeks for a system to identify a pizza from other foods.

Google wants to simplify this process, so the learning process is shortened greatly. To do this, the company plans to create machine learning supercomputers called cloud TPU pods. Many Cloud TPUs will be wired together using high-speed data connection. As a result, the learning will be split across different TPUs and they will happen in parallel, thereby leading to a shorter learning curve.

According to Pichai, Google wants to create thousands of TPUs and make them available over the Internet so that it can benefit researchers and developers in a big way. To start with, Google announced that it will share 1,000 TPUs with artificial intelligence researchers to help them in their studies.

In addition to this AI chip, Google plans to create algorithms that will fine-tune other machine learning algorithms and was developing AI tools for advanced studies such as genome analysis, molecular discovery and more.

In all, this is a great initiative from Google and one that could potentially transform our society in a big way. In return, Google can emerge as the leader of the AI chip market, right from its very beginning.

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A Look into Google’s Pricing Strategy

It’s a well know fact that the top players in cloud market are engaged in an aggressive pricing strategy to woo customers and to increase their overall market share. Out of the top names like AWS, Microsoft, IBM and Google, the one company that’s know for its deep price cuts is Google.

So, is it true that Google cuts its prices with an aim to increase the market share?

Apparently no, according to Tariq Shaukat, the president of customers at Google Cloud. In an interview to CNBC, he said that Google will never be involved in a price war because he believes that Google’s products offer a high value for its customers. So, there is no need to engage in a price war.

However, he has also said that Google offers a flexible pricing model for its products and this way, customers are already saving money when compared to what they pay for the same service with other cloud providers.

One of strategies that Google offers to its customers is that they are billed by the minute and not by the hour, like many other cloud providers. This way, customers pay exactly for what they use and not even a minute extra.

In addition, Google’s services are comprehensive as it includes data analysis, machine learning, artificial intelligence and more that are built into its products. This way, customers stand to gain a lot more for the same money they pay, opined Shaukat.

While this is a good strategy and can save money for customers, still it’s a form of price war, albeit in a veiled way.

If you look back, Amazon, Microsoft and Google have been locked in a price war that many analysts believe will severely impact the bottom line and profit margins of all the three companies. With increased competition from companies like Alibaba, there’s a possibility that there giants will slash prices even further, much to the delight of customers.

While this can leave customers happy, this price cutting is not a healthy trend for the cloud industry as a whole and this is what is worrying investors and analysts. They would rather prefer the companies to keep up their profit margins, expand their business and spend more on development, so that more products and cloud applications can come out of it. Such an approach would augur well for the health and sustainability of the cloud industry as a whole.

That opinion aside, Google is still moving on with its expansion plans. Already it has invested more than $30 billion dollars in its cloud business and this is not all. Other companies like AWS and Microsoft are also pouring in millions of dollars to spruce up their products because they all believe that this could be the main revenue driver in the years to come.

All this means the next few years are going to be interesting. Will an aggressive pricing strategy followed by these companies score over analysts’ long-term predictions? Time is the answer.

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