RedMonk’s Kelly Fitzpatrick and Kate Holterhoff discuss their initial impressions of Google Cloud Next ’22, a hybrid event that Kelly streamed from her home office and Kate viewed (partly) from a Next on the Road event off the Beltline in Atlanta, GA. Watch through to the end to see if Kate does, in fact, make it to the Bloody Mary bar that she has been promised.
This was a RedMonk video, sponsored by Google Cloud.
Kelly Fitzpatrick: Hi there. This is Kelly Fitzpatrick, senior analyst with RedMonk. For those of you who are not familiar with RedMonk, our job is to follow tech trends, especially around tech adoption, and our focus tends to be on the point of view of developers and other technical practitioners. I’m here to talk about Google Cloud Next, which is the conference for all things Google Cloud. The theme of this year’s 2022 event is “Today Meet Tomorrow”. Because it is 2022 and we are all trying to navigate the changing expectations for tech events. We wanted to spend some time focusing on the formats and modalities that Google Cloud has employed to put this event together.
To recap in 2020 Google Cloud next, along with virtually every other tech event on the planet, moved to virtual formats. Because it took place at the end of 2020, Google Cloud had a lot of time to think about what type of event it wanted to deliver and put together a fully virtual event that was temporally distributed over a nine week period. In 2021, The event remained virtual, but was condensed back down to a few days. And here in 2022, with many of us willing to get on planes again, but not all of us willing or able to travel. Google Cloud next is experimenting with a hybrid format.
Now I can really only speak to the virtual component of this year’s Google Cloud Next because while I am traveling, I do not want to be traveling every week. But in attempting to mirror the hybrid and distributed nature of the event itself, we have sent my excellent colleague, Dr. Kate Holteroff, out into the field in Atlanta, Georgia. So let’s check in with her to see what she has to say about her Google Cloud Next experience so far.
Kate Holterhoff: Hello, my name is Kate Holder off. I’m an industry analyst at RedMonk, the developer focused analyst firm. And welcome to the Atlanta Beltline. The Beltline is a 22 mile long urban recreation trail where you can walk and bike and then hop off to enjoy a beer or food at any of the venues which line the trail. Although I don’t need my arm twisted to hop on the Beltline, especially on a cool fall morning like this. I do have a special project here today. You are joining me as I walk to the Google Cloud Next On the Road keynote watch party, which is being hosted at a rooftop venue just off the Beltline. It is themed as a tailgate party and I’ve been promised a Bloody Mary bar. All of which sounds particularly Southern.
In recent years, Cloud Next, Google’s premier conference has been experimenting with formats in 2020 and 2021. The Google next conference was fully digital, but this year Google is boasting, quote, “live content from visionaries, developers and Google experts from New York to Sunnyvale and Munich to Bengaluru to Tokyo.” In fact, Thomas Kurian, Google Cloud CEO, is broadcasting the opening keynote from Pier 57 in New York City. Fair enough.
So what is Next On the Road, you ask? I’m lucky enough to live in one of the bevy of locations hosting a social event in conjunction with the conference. In addition to Atlanta some other cities getting in on the action include Austin, New York, Miami and Toronto. Not all of these Next On the Road events are keynote watch parties. Some lucky attendees in Miami, for instance, are being treated to an executive cruise on a chartered yacht where guests are being treated to lunch and cocktails.
So let’s talk Google next. This conference devoted to news, product announcements, and predictions from Google concerns all things cloud. Kurian’s opening keynote will also feature Google partner Kevin Mandia, CEO of Mandiant, and Jim Farley, the CEO of Ford, which is a Google customer. I won’t go deep into predictions right now, but we can expect Kurian to spend some time on updates and integrations to their open data ecosystem, BigQuery, and Distributed Cloud. Last year there was a large focus on Anthos, their Kubernetes hybrid cloud management solution, which we can expect to continue. Finally, Google has been leaning into security and artificial intelligence and machine learning, which is an extremely important space in the industry and will certainly take center stage again. I am nearing the venue, so I will hop off. Can’t wait for the Bloody Marys and to see what Google has in store for us.
Kelly: While Kate is checking out next on the road, I want to talk a little bit about the virtual component of this event, and I’ll start with the keynote lineup, which kicked off with three and a half hours of live streaming for North American audiences on October 11th. The first hour was the opening keynote hosted by Thomas Kurian and featuring a number of other Google Tech executives and a couple of customer stories as well. The next hour was the developer keynote, which featured ten tech predictions, each given by a different Googler. And this was a really engaging way to talk not only about the future of tech, but to also dig into some of the product announcements and new offerings that are coming out of Google Cloud Next 2022. We were then absolutely treated to a developer community keynote from Ashley Willis on burnout, and if there is one thing that you watch from this entire event, this should be the thing that you watch. We then saw an entire hour of customer stories, and that’s also worth a look to see exactly who is using Google Cloud and how.
Now these sessions are available on demand and as they became available on demand, there was also additional live content dropping into the live stream, including a diversity equity and inclusion keynote on “Belonging and the Power of Perseverance,” as well as keynotes for specific geographies in India, Germany and Japan. Now. I really like the combination of the live streaming of the keynotes, which really kind of created a bit of FOMO if you weren’t there for the entire three and a half hours watching with the ability to replay mainstage sessions once they wrapped, as well as to kind of view and replay breakout sessions.
And to be honest, at the end of the three and a half hours of streaming keynotes, I absolutely needed a break. So I have been catching up on a lot of the breakout sessions on demand. As this is my third year attending Google Cloud Next virtually, I found the online platform familiar and easy to navigate. I’ve been able to find whatever is livestreaming at any given moment and have had really no trouble navigating through the eight content tracks, mostly because they are organized around these really nice actionable concepts such as build, design, operate and modernize. So I’ve been catching up on my content, but I still have a lot more content to catch up on. And if you’re interested to hear more about what Kate and I have to say about the content and announcements coming out of this year’s Google Cloud Next, we’re going to meet up later to discuss that, and we’ll package that up in a nice video for you.
In closing, I think it is very important for you all to know that Kate did, in fact, get a Bloody Mary. And while she was not able to film at the venue, she was kind enough to send a very picturesque tweet showcasing the Atlanta skyline. For those of us who would not be leaving our offices or home offices during the event. And let’s face it, part of this was also her taunting me for having moved out of Atlanta. However, I think it really is a nice instance of the types of experiences and even collegial interactions that a well organized hybrid event like Google Cloud Next 2022 can inspire.