The Business Times

Google expands cloud to more regions, adds new AI capabilities

Published Wed, Oct 12, 2022 · 08:40 AM

GOOGLE on Tuesday (Oct 11) announced a broad swath of updates to its cloud offerings, aiming to capitalise on its strength in artificial intelligence (AI) to gain market share from rivals.

The new services - announced at Google’s Next ‘22 event - include Vertex AI Vision, which is designed to make it easier to use AI technology such as image recognition. There’s also an AI-based service called Translation Hub that translates documents into 135 languages, the Alphabet-owned company said.

Google is beefing up its cloud infrastructure as well, relying on a fourth-generation version of Intel’s Xeon Scalable processor and Google’s custom Intel chip. The company unveiled a new C3 machine series that’s powered by the chips, as well as an updated Tensor processing unit that helps accelerate AI functions.

The equipment helps customers train large data sets using machine learning. Cloud users such as Snap are already getting a boost from the new hardware, Google said. That company saw a 20 per cent increase in performance over the previous generation C2 machine, Google said. The tech giant also announced an expanded partnership with Nvidia that it said would deepen its AI infrastructure, including work on open AI frameworks. There’s new cryptocurrency support as well. Google Cloud will enable some customers, starting with those in the Web3 industry, to pay using currencies through Coinbase Global, according to a statement. Google will also use Coinbase Prime for institutional crypto services, such as custody and reporting.

“We see our collaboration with Google as an opportunity to bring Web3 to a new set of users and provide powerful solutions to founders and developers,” Coinbase chief executive officer Brian Armstrong said during the conference.

Google also announced new cybersecurity initiatives intended to capitalise on its recent acquisition of Mandiant, including Chronicle Security Operations, a programme to help companies identify and address threats. That deal was completed last month.

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In addition, Google will begin serving six additional countries: Austria, the Czech Republic, Greece, Norway, South Africa and Sweden. The idea is to either build data centres locally or partner with existing players in those countries, the company told reporters in a briefing. Google didn’t disclose when those expansions would occur.

“These cloud regions help bring innovations from across Google closer to our customers around the globe, and provide a platform that enables organisations to transform the way they do business,” Sachin Gupta, a Google Cloud executive, wrote in a blog post detailing the expansion.

The company also rolled out more integrations and developer tools for its Workspace productivity suite.

Although Google is a distant third in the cloud market, trailing Amazon.com and Microsoft, the effort is viewed as one of the company’s best bets for growth as the core search business matures. BLOOMBERG

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