Google Next 2018 – TP Research Note

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Google Next took place in July and the company shared a lot of news. Very likely more news that you heard as there are only so many headlines.

In this report, I provide a deep dive into two of the announcements that impact enterprise communications: Contact Center AI and Google Voice. I also offer some clarification around Google Hangouts (Classic, Meet, and Chat). There were only minor announcements regarding Hangouts, but these apps are part of the communications and collaboration suite.

Google Contact Center AI and Google Voice are polar opposites in regards to the technology partnership opportunity. The CC AI solution is only available from technology partners, and many of them are not happy at all about Google Voice which is a direct, hosted telephony offer available from Google and its distribution partners. I was initially surprised by Google Voice, though I fully expected it about a decade ago. However, upon more reflection I think Google Voice was always inevitable and logical. It has the potential to disrupt the UCaaS space, but then what doesn’t these days.

The seven page report is in TalkingPointz format with the following structure:

  • Overview: 8 talking points
  • G Suite: 7 talking points
  • Google Contact Center AI: 24 talking points
  • Google Voice: 21 talking points
  • Hangouts: 7 talking points
  • Dave’s Additional Thoughts: 13 talking points

TalkingPointz research notes are automatically sent to all premium subscribers and available for purchase à la carte below.

Again, Google Next 2018 is a large event. I’m including below a summary of announcements from Google, most of which is not covered in the TalkingPointz Research Note below.

  • We’re introducing a service mesh based on the open-source Istio, which will soon move to version 1.0, and Managed Istio, a fully managed version thereof, running in GCP. Also, Apigee API Management for Istio lets enterprises operationalize microservices created by the Istio service mesh with their existing API management tools.
  • For Istio and App Engine workloads, the new Stackdriver Service Monitoring provides an SRE-inspired, service-oriented view of user workloads.
  • We’re furthering hybrid computing with GKE On-Prem, a Google-configured version of Kubernetes that includes multi-cluster management, that users can deploy on-premise or in other clouds.
  • GKE Policy Management establishes a single source of truth for the policies that govern user’s Kubernetes workloads, across any enrolled cluster.
  • We want users to build all their applications serverlessly, even if you use Kubernetes. To help do that, we will offer the new GKE serverless add-on. Then, we’re releasing that same serverless framework as open-source under the name Knative.
  • Speaking of serverless, we’re adding support for Python 3.7 and PHP 7.2 runtimes on App Engine standard environment.
  • Cloud Functions is now generally available, with support for additional languages, plus performance, networking and security features.
  • Serverless containers on Cloud Functions allow users to run container-based workloads in a fully managed environment and still only pay for what they use.
  • Cloud Firestore lets you store and sync your app data at global scale, with access within the GCP Console coming soon.
  • Cloud Build is our new continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) service that’s integrated with popular developer tools and that lets you build serverless applications.
  • Google Cloud and GitHub are delivering a new integrated experience that connects GitHub with Google’s Cloud Build, our new I/CD platform.
  • Cloud AutoML Vision, Natural Language, and Translation extend powerful ML models to suit specific needs, without requiring any specialized knowledge in machine learning or coding.
  • Cloud TPU V3, our custom ASIC chips designed for machine learning workloads, are in alpha, and we also launched Cloud ML Engine support for scikit-learn and XGBoost so customers can train and deploy with different ML frameworks on Cloud Machine Learning Engine.
  • New enhancements to Dialogflow Enterprise Edition enable you to design smarter and more conversational interfaces.
  • A new solution, Contact Center AI, which includes new Dialogflow features alongside other tools to assist live agents and perform analytics.
  • Iron Mountain Partnership – Jointly developing solutions that will enable customers to gain insights from business data through innovative content analytics, information management and cloud-based machine learning.
  • BigQuery ML is a new capability that allows data analysts and data scientists to easily build machine learning models directly from BigQuery with simple SQL commands, making machine learning more accessible to all. BigQuery ML is now available in beta.
  • BigQuery Clustering enables you to group rows by common keys for faster query speeds.
  • BigQuery GIS is now available in public alpha to let you handle geographic data types.
  • A Sheets data connector for BigQuery is now available in beta, letting you access your BigQuery data warehouse straight from Sheets.
  • Data Studio Explorer, now in beta, supports templates and a one-click visualization tool.
  • Cloud Composer, a managed Apache Airflow service, is now generally available to help you orchestrate your multi-cloud deployment strategy.
  • Customer Managed Encryption Keys for Dataproc (generally available for BigQuery, and in beta for Compute Engine and Cloud Storage) gives you granular control over provisioning and revoking identity-aware authentication keys to your teams and users.
  • We announced streaming analytics updates, including Dataflow Streaming Engine in beta and Python support in general availability.
  • Dataflow Shuffle is now generally available to help customers run bigger and faster batch jobs.
  • Dataproc Autoscaling, in alpha, gives users Hadoop and Spark clusters that scale automatically, and Dataproc Custom Packages, also in alpha, allows customers to deploy a selection of top-level Apache components quickly through a checkbox-like selection experience within Dataproc.
  • Data Solutions for Change: We’re expanding our nonprofit initiatives to include a new program focused on data analytics and machine learning.
  • A new investigation tool in the Security Center helps admins identify which users are potentially infected, see if anything’s been shared externally and remove access to Drive files or delete malicious emails.
  • Customers can choose where to store primary data for select G Suite apps—globally, distributed, U.S. or Europe—with Data Regions for G Suite.
  • Smart Reply is coming to Hangouts Chat. Using AI, Smart Reply recognizes which messages need responses and proposes reply options that are casual enough for chat, yet appropriate for the workplace.
  • Smart Compose in Gmail intelligently autocompletes emails for you—by filling in greetings, common phrases and more–so you collaborate more efficiently. Smart Compose will be available to G Suite customers in the coming weeks.
  • Grammar Suggestions in Google Docs uses a unique machine translation-based approach to recognize grammatical errors (simple and complex) and suggest corrections. It is available in an Early Adopter Program (“beta”) for G Suite customers today.
  • Voice Commands for Hangouts Meet hardware brings some of the same magic of the Google Assistant to the conference room so that teams can connect to video meetings quickly. Voice Commands will roll out to select Meet hardware customers later this year.
  • New Gmail is now generally available to all users so that more businesses can take advantage of its innovative features, like snooze, nudging, offline access, and more.
  • New Cloud Search functionality to help companies intelligently and securely index their third-party data beyond G Suite, whether that data is stored in the cloud, or on-prem is being deployed by an initial set of customers including 15 launch partners on board, such as SADA, Onix and Accenture.
  • An enterprise version of Google Voice to G Suite is available through our Early Adopter Program (“beta”) and tightly integrated with G Suite apps, like Hangouts Meet and Google Calendar, providing administrator capabilities best suited for the enterprise.
  • Drive Enterprise is available as a standalone offering with usage-based pricing to help make it simple for businesses to adopt and use G Suite, ensuring a smooth transition off legacy enterprise content management (ECM) systems.
  • Chrome Enterprise highlights the paradigm shift of a new breed of worker; the Cloud Worker. In fact, one in four workers in today’s enterprises are already Cloud Workers. Whether they are in the office, back of house or frontline workers, they demand technology to be secure, flexible and help increase their productivity.
  • Chrome Enterprise’s Grab and Go: a self service program designed for businesses that makes it easy for employees to pick up a Chromebook and get to work in the time it takes to enter their password. This program is perfect for loaner devices, shared device fleets, frontline worker devices, and Cloud Workers on the go.
  • Context-aware access capabilities, available now for select customers in beta for VPC Service Controls, and coming soon to beta for Cloud IAM, Cloud IAP and Cloud Identity. Context-aware access is an innovative approach to access management that implements many elements of Google’s BeyondCorp vision for apps and services on Google Cloud and beyond, to help organizations increase security as well as flexibility.
  • Titan Security Key, a FIDO security key that includes firmware developed by Google to verify its integrity, is available now to Cloud customers, and coming soon to the Google Store.
  • Shielded VMs, available now in beta, leverages advanced platform security capabilities to help ensure VMs have not been tampered with. With Shielded VMs, customers can monitor and react to any changes in the VM baseline as well as its current runtime state.
  • Binary Authorization, coming soon to beta, businesses can enforce signature validation when deploying container images. Binary Authorization can be integrated with existing CI/CD pipelines to ensure images are properly built and tested prior to deployment.
  • Container Registry Vulnerability Scanning, coming soon to beta, automatically performs vulnerability scanning for Ubuntu, Debian and Alpine images to ensure images are safe to deploy.
  • Cloud Armor geo-based access control, available now in beta, allows IT to control access to services based on the geographic location of the client trying to connect to the application.
  • Cloud HSM is a fully managed service so enterprises can protect their most sensitive workloads without needing to manage a hardware security module (HSM) cluster.
  • Access Transparency, now generally available, provides an audit trail of actions taken by Google Support and Engineering when they interact with your data and system configurations on Google Cloud.
  • G Suite security center investigation tool, available now via Early Adopter Program, is an enhancement to security center allowing admins to identify security issues within their domain and take rapid action to remediate.
  • G Suite data regions, now generally available, makes it possible for G Suite Business and Enterprise customers to designate the region in which primary data for select G Suite apps is stored when at rest—globally, in the U.S., or in Europe.

Dave Michels