On Thursday, at the 2017 Google Cloud Next conference in San Francisco, leaders from Google’s cloud business took the stage to explain the infrastructure investments that have been made in the platform, and to announce new features in compute, security, economics, and more.

Urs Hölzle, the senior vice president of technical infrastructure and Google, opened the day two keynote with some statistics—claiming that the Google Cloud services touch one billion end users every day. And, to open the platform up to more users around the world, Hölzle said that new Google Cloud Platform (GCP) regions in the Netherlands, Canada, and California will be coming in 2017 and 2018.

The days are short and packed with to-dos, like following up on sales leads, logging support tickets or sending invoices. And while great apps exists to tackle these work streams, most users have to flip between them and their inbox because email is still “central command” for task management.

Google unveiled several new products and updates as well in its Next 2017 conference, below are some of the main announcements:

Meet the new Hangouts Chat

Hangouts Chat is a new approach to team messaging. Bring your group together to work on a project in a room, and discuss the various tasks to keep your project moving forward through multiple conversation threads. Add in features like intelligent bots, rich G Suite file sharing, and integrations with the third-party tools your team relies on and Chat is a platform for successful team communication.

Hangouts Chat makes it simple to work together on a project. Your team can have multiple conversations about different parts of a project, and share or preview your G Suite content without worrying about sharing permissions. Powerful, filterable search also makes it easy to find the content you need and turns your conversations into team memory.

Hangouts Chat is designed not only to work the way you do, but also with the tools your team uses. As well as rich integrations with G Suite, Chat makes it easy to access your team’s content from Asana, Zendesk, ProsperWorks and Box. You’ll also notice that Chat brings Google’s machine learning to your conversations. For example, when you need to set up time for the team to discuss a topic face-to-face, the @Meet bot can take a look at everyone’s calendar and select a time that works for all.

G Suite Early Adopter Program

Hangouts Chat is currently in our G Suite Early Adopter Program (EAP). The EAP program is designed to help make our products as useful and intuitive as possible, by working with our G Suite customers to get their input on new products and features.

Hangouts Meet

Hangouts Meet is all about making meetings easier. “One of the biggest things talking to our G Suite customers about Hangouts meetings is just how people are spending so much time on getting into the meetings,” Johnston said. “We’re a big supporter of automating the full meeting life cycle from agenda to follow-ups. But meeting value today is destroyed by time-to-start. It takes so long to simply get started.”

Unsurprisingly, Meet then tries to make getting into a meeting as easy as possible. Ideally, it’ll just take one click and you’re in your meeting, whether that’s a video or audio one.

It’s a full rewrite of the Hangouts meeting experience and will work without any plug-ins (and Google also promises that it will be lighter on the processor, too, and won’t eat into your battery life or make your laptop’s fans spin at full speed). The team also cut down on the code size and promises that meetings will load “instantly.”

Jamboard

Jamboard will be available for purchase starting in May 2017, with a retail price of $4,999, plus a $600 annual management and support fee (discounted to $300 for your first year if you purchase by Sept. 30, 2017).

Developer Preview of Gmail Add-Ons

The developer preview of Gmail Add-ons, a new way for G Suite users to access your app’s functionality directly from Gmail in just one tap, no matter the device.

Save your users time

Add-ons provide a way to surface the functionality of your app or service when the context calls for it. They’re built on a powerful framework, which makes it easy for developers to trigger workflows based on email content. Say a Gmail user receives an email from a sales lead, and wants to add that contact to her CRM solution. With Gmail Add-ons, she can enter the contact’s required info and look up their account in that CRM system without leaving Gmail. No more tabbing, copying and pasting or sifting between mobile apps in order to get things done.

Write once, run anywhere


With Gmail Add-ons, developers only build their integration once, and it runs natively in Gmail on web, Android and iOS right away. Users only install the Add-on once, too, and it shows up in Gmail across their devices. So instead of wasting time writing separate integrations for web and mobile, you can focus on bringing your app’s most powerful features right to your users when they need them most. Gmail Add-ons are built in Apps Script using a newly-designed “Card” system that lets you easily combine different UI components. Developers can create a snappy user experience that feels like it was natively built into Gmail. The result: integrations that are cross-platform from the get-go that save your team time.

  • Intuit QuickBooks: The Intuit Add-on lets Gmail users and QuickBooks small business customers generate and send invoices and even confirm invoice status without ever leaving Gmail.
  • ProsperWorks: The ProsperWorks Add-on makes it easy for Gmail users to check the contact info of people on email threads against the information stored in their CRM.
  • Salesforce: The Salesforce Add-on allows Gmail users to look up existing contacts, add new ones, as well as associate email threads with one or more existing opportunities in Salesforce, right from the Gmail app.

Google Cloud Platform

Cloud users waste up to 45% of their spend on resources they bought, that they can’t use, citing the most recent Rightscale State of the Cloud report.

Google began offering automatic sustained discounts in 2014. Now, Google will also be offering committed-use discounts. One-year or three-year commitments by customers will mean up to a 57% discount. However, they only commit to overall volume, but they can change machine types at any time

On the compute side of things, Google Cloud customers will now have access to 64-core GCP VMs with up to 416 GB of memory. It was also noted in the presentation that Google is the first to have cloud services on the next-generation Intel Xeon Skylake processors.

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