Artificial Intelligence

Why machine learning and data analysis are critical to Google's success in the cloud

At the 2017 Google Cloud Next conference, machine learning efforts took center stage in the first keynote address, highlighting Google's work with data as a core asset.

On Tuesday, at the 2017 Google Cloud Next conference in San Francisco, two key themes dominated Google's roadmap for its future in cloud: Machine learning and data analytics.

The conference, held at the Moscone Center, saw Google executives like Google Cloud senior vice president Diane Greene, Google CEO Sundar Pichai, and Alphabet chairman Eric Schmidt take the stage to explain the mission of Google Cloud. Over the past year, Greene said, Google Cloud engineers have done 500 releases on the platform, and the company has ramped up partnerships as well.

"Google Cloud is a natural extension of our mission to make information accessible and useful," Pichai said. "We're just doing it for businesses."

SEE: Google Cloud Platform: The smart person's guide

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Image: TechRepublic/Conner Forrest

One of those partnerships was with analytics giant SAP. Green spoke with SAP's Bernd Leukert on stage at the event, where he explained that many of SAP's business products, like SAP HANA, are now generally available, and certified, on the Google Cloud Platform. However, SAP will remain custodian of that data, even though it is run in Google Cloud.

What's even more interesting is that SAP, as it has worked to move HANA to the public cloud, has mentioned that machine learning and artificial intelligence will be some of its core focuses in that process. The company will likely begin looking to automate processes such as employee approvals, payment processing, and sales discounting.

Another partnership showcased at Google Cloud Next was international bank, HSBC. The company's CIO Darryl West explained that the firm has looked to Google for cloud services, due to its integration with data platforms like Apache Hadoop and Apache Spark.

HSBC relies on big data and analytics to help with activities such as anti money laundering efforts, risk analytics, risk reporting, valuation services, finance liquidity reporting, and more.

Fei-Fei Li, the chief scientist of AI and machine learning at Google Cloud, showed off some new machine learning and AI tools such as the Video Intelligence API, at the conference as well. The API, which is in private beta, uses machine learning to determine if an entity like an animal is in a video, to make searching and cataloging videos easier. It could also be used to show more relevant ads.

One of Google's biggest value adds is its access to, and innovations in working with, data. That extends to machine learning and AI efforts which, if Google can properly leverage and market to the enterprise, could set the search giant apart as a serious cloud competitor.

Gartner analyst David Smith said that the big thing to take away from the partnerships is that Google is "taking enterprise business very seriously." And, he added, businesses are becoming "more receptive to Google messages" as the company opens up access to its innovations in machine learning and more.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  1. Google's biggest cloud value is in data analytics and machine learning, showcased at the 2017 Google Cloud Next conference.
  2. SAP HANA is now certified for Google Cloud Platform, as the company looks to extend its use of machine learning technology.
  3. Experts said that Google seems to be taking the enterprise more seriously, as it makes its innovations more accessible through Google Cloud.

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About Conner Forrest

Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.

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