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Here’s what you missed at Next ’21

October 18, 2021
Google Cloud Content & Editorial

Too much to take in at Google Cloud Next 2021? No worries - here’s a breakdown of the biggest announcements at the 3-day event.

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Google Cloud Next ‘21 is over, but the learning is just beginning. With three days of keynotes, deep dives, and announcements, there was a lot to take in! But don’t worry if you missed something—the Google Cloud Blog team is here to round up our favorite announcements of Next ‘21.

The biggest announcements

You can catch up on all the Next announcements in this comprehensive list, but we know that’s a lot! Here are the standouts.

Living on the edge

You get a cloud … and you get a cloud! We think Oprah would approve of Google Distributed Cloud, announced during Monday’s Thomas Kurian keynote: a portfolio of fully managed hardware and software solutions that extend Google Cloud’s infrastructure and services to data centers and the edge.  Distributed Cloud is powered by Anthos, which also got a slate of upgrades this week including VM support, and you’ll find it useful in all sorts of situations from running low-latency edge workloads or private 5G/LTE solutions to meeting local sovereignty requirements. Reality at the edge is messy, but managing it doesn’t have to be.

Google security on your side

The Google Cybersecurity Action Team (GCAT) might sound like a cult-classic 80s Saturday morning cartoon lineup, but it’s also a group of security experts we’ve assembled to bring Google-grade security chops to governments and businesses around the world. You can rely on them for threat briefings, proven security blueprints, and strategic sessions designed to help you build a trusted cloud. To get things started, GCAT has released a Security and Resilience Framework using Google Cloud and partner technologies. Now we just need to work on a theme song.

AI breakthroughs for industry

Buzzwords begone. The whole point of machine learning and AI is to do something with it, something that helps your business. So we’ve made Contact Center AI (CCAI) Insights generally available, and also added Contract DocAI to our DocAI lineup. CCAI Insights helps you mine contact center interactions to create better customer experiences—whether your call center is staffed by humans or virtual agents. Contract DocAI makes it faster and less expensive to analyze contracts, the most critical documents of all. Both are business tools that solve real problems—no buzzwords necessary.

Sprucing up with the cleanest cloud

Google Cloud is proud of our sustainability track record as the cleanest cloud in the industry. But we want to help you go even further. With the newly-announced Carbon Footprint tool, every Google Cloud user—that means you!—can access the gross carbon emissions associated with the services you use in Google Cloud. Now you can measure, track, and report your carbon footprint. Plus we’ve integrated sustainability into Unattended Project Recommender, so you can reduce your footprint even further by deleting unattended projects.

Data analytics unite!

Unification was the theme of this year’s data announcements. Vertex AI Workbench launched in public preview—a single Jupyter-based environment for data scientists to complete all of their ML work, from experimentation, to deployment, to managing and monitoring models. But it’s not just for Vertex AI—you can also analyze data from BigQuery, Dataproc, Spark, and Looker in one interface.

And don’t sleep on the private alpha launch of BigQuery Omni, which takes that theme of unification even further by allowing you to analyze data from other clouds using BigQuery. Later this month, you’ll be able to securely query S3 data in AWS or Azure Blob Storage data in Azure directly through the familiar BigQuery user interface, bringing the power of BigQuery to where the data resides. 

Collaboration gets cloudier

Google Workspace (the artist formerly known as G Suite) is a core part of Google Cloud, and we announced all sorts of exciting updates and integrations to our collaboration products this year. Client-side encryption for Google Meet, Data Loss Prevention (DLP) for Chat, and Drive labels for sensitive files are all new at Next. Perhaps most critical for organizations is our just-announced Work Safer Program, which helps protect your Google Workspace users against rising cybersecurity threats with industry-leading solutions from Google and our partners.

Keeping the band together

Throughout Next, we were proud to celebrate our most innovative customers, partners, and community members. And we want to keep the good vibes going all year long with our new Innovators community. You’ll get the inside scoop on our roadmap, get access to exclusive events, and much more. Everyone is welcome to join, and we’ll have all sorts of cool opportunities for Innovators coming up. Join the program today to stay informed and come along on the journey. 

Keynotes and sessions

The live sessions are over, but you can still register to view sessions on demand through November 5th. We’ve created a collection of themed playlists to guide you—whether you’re a developer, an executive, or an industry expert, you’ll find something helpful here. If you’ve got time for just one session, we recommend CEO Thomas Kurian’s keynote, which covers many of this year’s biggest announcements.

Thanks again for learning and growing with us in 2021. We’ll have more Next recaps and breakdowns coming up on the blog in the weeks to come—stay tuned!

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