Google Cloud CEO Diane Greene: On becoming a ‘major enterprise player’ – with AI as the heartbeat

Google Cloud CEO Diane Greene has told an audience in London of her pride at how quickly the company has become a ‘major enterprise player’ – with artificial intelligence (AI) and security the key differentiators to their value proposition.

Speaking at the latest leg of Google Cloud Next’s world tour, Greene explained the increasing importance of AI to the cloud equation – a topic covered in chapter and verse by this publication in recent times.

“Cloud is becoming just a better way to run your IT, and it’s turning out to almost provide a working structure for how you can effect change in your company,” said Greene. “Data tends to be in silos across your data centres or in lots of different databases – then people move to the cloud and you put it all in one data lake, and all of a sudden everybody in the company can easily ask questions, subject to access controls.

“Then once you have that data you can start running analytics, doing AI, getting to know your customers so much better, making predictions about what they want and training on your own data – and everything changes for the better,” added Greene.

Regular readers of this publication will be aware of what Google is doing around pre-packaged AI – in August services were launched around contact centre and talent acquisition. But these industry-focused cloud toolkits don’t stop there. Google is working in the realms of financial services for anti-money laundering and fraud detection, retail for inventory predictions, and healthcare for managing and anonymising records, as well as diagnostics.

This is all AI-flavoured, of course; Greene noted that healthcare was one of the first industries targeted because it is so data-intensive which lent itself so well to building machine learning models. This is interesting when compared with the verdict from analyst firm CCS Insight earlier this month; the company predicted that by 2020 cloud service providers would expand from general purpose AI to business-specific applications. While Google appears to be leading the way in this field right now, expect efforts here to ramp up considerably in the coming 18 months.

Regarding security, Greene put forward a couple of eye-opening statistics. Google filters out 7000 bad URLs per minute, as well as 10 million spam and phishing attacks. Those who read earlier this week around Google+ being shut down after a software breach may raise eyebrows rather than open eyes at the following statement, but Greene emphasised the security side. “Our security is just built into every layer of the system – our assumption is that anything on the network is a risk,” said Greene. “There’s just no more secure setup than taking a Chromebook, adding hardware-based two factor authentication and running it discless with G Suite.”

G Suite – with AI completely infused, as Greene put it – is a key component of the Google Cloud mix. Last year Google revealed that Verizon had rolled out the collaboration tool to more than 150,000 of its employees, while more recently Airbus had gone all-in, with 130,000 employees. Other customers noted here were retailer Carrefour, using both Google Cloud Platform and AI capabilities, long-time partner SAP, and the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), who is trusting Google with image APIs for wildlife surveillance.

This comes amidst recent comments from Amir Hermelin, formerly product management lead at Google Cloud, who took to Medium to lament mistakes in taking too long to realise the value of the enterprise market. “Seeing success with Snapchat and the likes, and lacking enough familiarity with the enterprise space, it was easy to focus away from ‘large orgs,’” wrote Hermelin. “This included insufficient investments in marketing, sales, support, and solutions engineering.”

With this in mind, Greene appears to be doing her best to make up for lost time here.

Picture credit: Google Cloud/Screenshot

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