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Google Cloud Next London 2023: a recap

October 20, 2023
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Helen Kelisky

Managing Director, UKI, Google Cloud

Whew, we can’t believe another Google Cloud Next London is over! With a whole host of keynote speakers, breakout sessions, lightning talks and exciting announcements to catch up on, settle in for our recap of all the biggest moments from our two-day event at London’s Tobacco Dock.

Kicking things off

"Generative AI hasn't only captured our imagination, it's made that imagination actionable," said Adaire Fox-Martin, President of Google Cloud Go to Market and Head of Google Ireland, during Day One’s keynote.

Gen AI was the unofficial theme of this year’s event. The opening session saw Google Cloud leaders explore our vision for the technology with special guests from customer organizations discussing how it’s already transforming their businesses.

On day two, the event took a more technical turn for our developer friends. Along with Rich Radley, Director of Customer Engineering UK & Ireland, we shared what's next for developer productivity and how AI is supercharging innovation.

Don’t worry if you missed the live event, though, you can watch on demand here.

Who’s newly aboard?

Google Cloud Next has historically been a time to celebrate the great progress our customers and partners are making, hear from Google Cloud’s experts and even get a sneak peek of future innovations. And this year was no different!

Over 40 companies on the FTSE 100 are now Google Cloud customers (Google internal data, August, 2023), and at Next we were pleased to welcome new and expanding customers.

First up, Gymshark — the fitness community and apparel brand — announced it’s working with Google Cloud to support the next phase of its digital growth and explore generative AI. Did someone say Black Friday? Gymshark is using our data analytics and AI tools to improve customer experiences during November’s retail sales event and beyond. And that’s not all! Using Vertex AI, Gymshark will be able to create new expert assistants to guide customers during product selection and supercharge its training app. Think: more personalization for customers and clearer data insights. We sense a personal best incoming…

Drivers, start your engines! Formula E is known for its fast cars, but now with our generative AI portfolio, the all-electric racing series is speeding up its data handling and interpretation and even project timeframes. Enter the new phase of business intelligence. Formula E is also using BigQuery, combined with gen AI, to develop a new conversational interface for drivers. Combining race data and car telemetry data, the simple text-based interface allows drivers to access answers to specific questions during a race without requiring time-consuming manual analysis. Fans too can access information on everything from niche decisions on build changes to information on the track itself.

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Continually innovating

Next up we announced a partnership with Unilever to launch its new app, My Unilever. Supporting its commitment to putting people at the heart of digital transformation, the app unlocks the opportunity for Unilever’s 53,000+ factory-based colleagues to become digitally connected with secure access to key Unilever HR, learning and support systems, and enables one-click access to Google Workspace collaboration tools including email, chat, and document sharing.

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Meanwhile, a new cybersecurity-focused partnership with BT Group will see customers benefit from the enhanced capabilities of Google Chronicle and BT’s deep expertise in delivering cybersecurity services. As part of the alliance, BT will become a managed services delivery partner for Google’s Autonomic Security Operations (ASO) offering based on Google Chronicle to help organizations rapidly identify risks and automatically enhance their cyber defences.

Stephan Pretorious, WPP CTO, revealed how the business is using Google Cloud’s gen AI to narrow the gap between imagination and execution, and to rapidly test the effectiveness of campaigns and concepts.

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Meanwhile, Gavin Jackon, CEO at Oxa spoke about how the autonomous driving company is working with Google Cloud to help train autonomous systems to operate safely on the road.

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Partner-led business

Our partners are playing a key role in supporting the next phase of gen AI and we’re committed to helping them address this opportunity.

Coming into 2024, the total amount of incentives and rewards available for our partners are increasing to help partners address this opportunity. We announced that we plan to increase our funding by as much as 10X for both ISV and systems integrator partners to implement gen AI.

Partners such as Accenture, AI21 Labs, Automation Anywhere, BCG, Behavox, Capgemini, Cognizant, Deloitte, Elemental Cognition, HCLtech, TCS, Wipro, and Zeotap are all joining our Generative AI Partner initiative, which helps Build and Service partners implement Google Cloud’s gen AI capabilities faster.

Furthermore, a new partnership with Crayon will help customers across EMEA pilot and deploy products like Duet AI, Vertex AI, and accelerate their time-to-value with AI overall.

And that’s not all: we also shared multiple program updates across Google Workspace, Sustainability, SecOps, and our Delivery Readiness Index, to name a few. Find out more here.

A helping hand to UK and EMEA startups

Here’s a fun fact: half of all gen AI startups headquartered in the UK today are Google Cloud customers. This includes innovators such as Mystic and VEED.

At Google Cloud Next London, we were thrilled to announce a new cohort of innovative UK startups and more established companies who have selected Google Cloud to build new products, platforms, and experiences, such as Callsign, ComplyAdvantage, Gumtree, OnBuy.com, Peak and VEED. You can learn more about how they are helping to prevent fraud and money laundering, building online marketplaces and creating engaging online video content here.

News from the public sector

Governments around the world are turning to the cloud to improve the lives of citizens, deliver public services and transform their own organizations. In the United Kingdom we continue to support the Department for Transport and we partnered with the Office of National Statistics to deliver the UK’s 2021 census. But we’re not stopping there.

At Next London, we announced Google Cloud Public Sector UK, a new division dedicated to helping government departments and agencies across the UK accelerate their digital transformation with the help of the cloud.

Product family updates

It wouldn’t be a Google Cloud Next event without product innovation, of course. And we went all on data product updates.

We announced the general availability of AlloyDB Omni, our downloadable, PostgreSQL-compatible database and the next evolution in database management. AlloyDB is designed to run virtually anywhere — on Google Cloud, across other clouds, on-premises, and even on developer laptops.

We also shared significant price-performance improvements to Cloud Spanner which is providing up to a 50% increase in throughput and 2.5 times the storage per node than before.

Did we miss anything?

That was a lot! Thank you to everyone who made Google Cloud Next London 2023 a real success. See you next time!

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