Google Cloud Next London 2023 – a small venue but BIG ideas

Just a few weeks ago, GFT was a key sponsor of Google Cloud Next, where a small but powerful team of GFT colleagues, led by Vimmy Patel, GFT’s Google Cloud Alliance Manager, graced the floors of the historic Tobacco Dock in London. Although partner capacity was limited due to the size of the venue, it was still amazing to be there amongst an enthusiastic crowd of Googlers, partners, clients, and those interested in all things Cloud.

We had a small booth with a BIG message that resonated with attendees and aligned nicely with Google’s key message for Google Cloud in 2023, namely around all things Artificial Intelligence. Google are focused on AI and have set their sights on dominating Data Cloud and Responsible GENAI (Generative Artificial Intelligence), which is very aligned with GFT’s goals for 2024. For more info see the new GFT AI.DA Marketplace. 

A small team. A small venue. BIG ideas. 

This year, Google split the event into two days, with content that appealed to specific roles within any business. 

Day 1 was created to appeal to the C-Level business leader community to showcase Google Cloud’s client and market successes in 2023 and Google’s vision for 2024, which, of course, has enterprise grade GenAI, Data Modernisation and Security at its heart. 

Day 2 was focused on the Tech Innovation Hub which included technical ‘deep dives’ into new products and services, designed to appeal more to developers and engineers. Responsible GenAI and Data was of course ubiquitous throughout both days, but there was also a focus on security and infrastructure services. 

GFT, like most partners, had a relatively small booth, but offered BIG ideas. Our Head of Data, Analytics & AI, David Tuppen, and Head of AI, ML & Data Science, Simon Thompson were there to discuss GFT’s recently announced GFT AI.DA Marketplace. AI.DA demonstrates GFT’s best practice in AI and Data, displaying our commitment to GenAI, and our extensive success in implementing Data Modernisation for some of the world biggest banks and financial services businesses. 

Simon Newton, GFT’s Head of Cloud Security, and Pambos Charalambos, Google Cloud Security Lead, were also on hand to highlight our deep expertise in all areas security, highlighting the important work undertaken by GFT’s growing Cloud Security practice. 

Ivan Lopez, Senior Principal Cloud Architect at GFT was excited to attend the conference, chatting with many attendees about GFT’s achievements and success in using Google Anthos to build hybrid cloud platforms for our customers. 

Following the close of the conference on the first day, GFT co-sponsored a networking event on the rooftop with C2C, Google’s customer community, which was a fantastic way to relax and discuss the highlights of the day with Googlers, clients, other attendees, and partners. It would have been better if the rain had held off, but we cannot have everything – it was in London after all! 

Given the many AI-based announcements made by Google during Google Next in Vegas earlier this year, it was no surprise that Google Next London was also dominated by all things AI; more specifically GenAI and Duet AI. Unless you have been hiding under a rock, you will know what is meant by GenAI, so I will cover Duet AI in more detail, as this is likely a new term for most. In short, Duet AI is a new AI-powered collaborator that can help users with tasks like summarisation, generation and translation. 

Google Cloud Duet AI 

Google Cloud Duet AI is currently in preview and will be available to all Google Cloud customers in the coming months. It is underpinned by Google’s latest AI language models and can understand and respond to natural language requests. It can be used for a variety of tasks like summarising documents and reports, generating creative text formats (poems, code, scripts, musical pieces, email, letters, etc.) and translating across many languages. 

Duet AI will be of interest to many GFT clients who want to reduce development time, accelerate time- to-market, reduce errors, increase security threat response and remediation times, gain better business insights faster, and generally make life easier and more productive. Google Cloud Duet AI has several AI assists in preview across many Google services.  

Duet AI can be imbedded into your favourite integrated development environment (IDE) to help developers create high quality application code faster. It is being used in the Google Cloud Console to operate infrastructure and applications more effectively and efficiently. It can assist with data analysis using BigQuery to get faster answers to data analysis questions. Duet AI is available in Colab Enterprise to assist data scientist be more productive with code completion and generations. Database management gets assistance too, by simplifying development across Google database platforms Cloud Spanner and AlloyDB. Security Command Center, Mandiant and Chronicle Security Operations use AI-assistance for security analysis and remediation. Lastly, Duet AI is available in Apigee to assist with creating APIs and integration using natural language prompts. 

Google showcased the power of Duet AI with a Looker BI (Business Intelligence) Platform demo that illustrated a user drawing data together using natural language prompts. The model extracted context and intent from user input and showed that the platform could combine numerical output and visualisations for easy combination within slide decks. This simple demo introduced everyone to the impressive potential power of Duet AI. 

Google say that they have seen a 150% increase in projects using Vertex AI in the last 90 days and claim that 70% of generative AI start-ups are Google Cloud customers. Google claims that they have officially been an AI company since 2016, investing heavily in Vertex AI and industry-leading Tensor Processing Units (TPUs) and Graphics Processing Units (GPUs), as well as foundation models that are already heavily used by development teams. This investment now seems to be bearing fruit. 

AlloyDB Omni 

The general availability of AlloyDB Omni was also announced at Google Next in London. AlloyDB Omni is a downloadable edition of AlloyDB that can be installed within a customer’s own data centre. It is a fully managed PostgreSQL-compatible database service for very demanding enterprise workloads and combines the best of Google with PostgreSQL, for superior performance, scale and availability. 

AlloyDB Omni caters to customers seeking to move away from expensive legacy databases with challenging licensing terms. It offers the flexibility to run a top-tier database in various environments, including on-premises, in multiple cloud platforms, and even on developer laptops. It is supported by Google’s enterprise support and comes at a fraction of the cost of traditional databases. 

AlloyDB Omni includes support for AlloyDB AI, which enhances database capabilities for building AI applications. It said to be 10x faster at vector queries than standard PostgreSQL and integrates with Google Cloud AI like Vertex AI Model Garden. Additionally, Google Cloud Customer Care is available for AlloyDB Omni to ensure high-level support for mission-critical applications. 

As part of this recent announcement, Google launched AlloyDB Omni Kubernetes operator into preview. This feature aims to simplify common database tasks, including database provisioning, backups, secure connectivity and observability, allowing customer to easily run AlloyDB Omni in more Kubernetes environments. 

Open cloud 

The release of AlloyDB Omni reinforces Google’s desire for an open cloud that meets the needs of organisations by providing greater choice, greater flexibility, and greater agility. Google’s open cloud brings Google Cloud services to different physical locations such as on-premises, multiple public clouds and the edge, whilst leaving the operation, governance and evolution of the services to Google Cloud. AlloyDB Omni complements Google’s other open cloud services like Google Anthos, Google Distributed Cloud, and Big Query Omni. 

Google Cloud is a powerhouse of data and AI innovation, strengths which are core to their consumer business. Google Cloud business customers benefit from the same services used to underpin the 9 >billion consumer product users, including: Google Search, YouTube, Gmail, and Google Maps. By continuing their investment into AI, security, and open cloud Google Cloud will continue to grow throughout 2024 and beyond. 

Many thanks to the GFT marketing team for working in the background to ensure that we were well-presented at Google Next London, enabling us to engage with so many clients, partners and of course Googlers. We were delighted to be present at the London event in force and are really looking forward to the global Google Next exhibition and conference in Las Vegas, in April 2024! 

Discover more about GFT and our Google Cloud partnership here. 

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