Tag Archives: google cloud

Finding my authentic self, from the outside looking in

As a child growing up in West Virginia, I have a distinct memory of looking at all of our silverware. Our forks, knives and spoons had the letter “S” engraved on them. I asked my mother why, and she said, “Oh, that’s because that’s our last name.” (My maiden name was Sui.) It was only later in life, after I went to college, that I realized where the S really came from.

My parents immigrated from China via Taiwan during the Cultural Revolution. They both came from very modest backgrounds and my father came to the U.S. with $5 in his pocket. He was a dishwasher at the Sheraton at night while he was doing his PhD at the University of Pennsylvania. And the Sheraton gifted them the silverware as a wedding gift.

My mom and dad worked incredibly hard to support us as a family. And as one of two Asian families in my town, assimilation was important to them. They wanted us to fit in, not stand out. They wanted us to only speak English, and now I speak Chinese very poorly. But my parents' emphasis on assimilation didn't stop me from facing adversity because of who I am. I had to fight to get the recognition I deserved, and that fight served me well through the rest of my career.

The plus side of being in a small town is everyone knows you. But the downside is that people are deeply critical about anyone who is different. I was on the student council, and would walk into another homeroom to make an announcement and have a whole bunch of kids make racist comments. Sadly, the teacher would do absolutely nothing.

All of us have that moment of being the “other.” Being the “other” meant that I had to work harder to be treated the same as everyone else. I had to work harder to get the same awards because of prejudices that I couldn’t articulate at the time.

It scars you. I repressed much of it and was very angry about it which drove me to think, “I'm going to show you all.” The best thing I did was deciding to go to Stanford. It was a gift to go to a place where I could meet people from all walks of life, and all types and sizes and religions and colors. You start to rethink who you are.

All of us have that moment of being the 'other.' Carol Carpenter

I think it’s critical to learn from the past and to determine what is authentic to you. And now that it’s Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, I’ve had a chance to reflect on how my past, how that's affected my path, and the lessons I've learned along the way. If you've been a high achiever, you've been around other high achievers and you have beliefs about who you should be or what you should be doing. I’ve had team members come into my office and say, “By the time I’m 30, I want to be a CEO.” These are extrinsic beliefs, not intrinsic beliefs. You need to know for yourself: Where are your lines? Which lines are you not going to cross? What really matters to you? What are you going to go to bat for and fight for, even if your job is on the line?” That's when you can be the best you can be. That's when you'll do your best work.

I’m grateful to be at Google, which is an extraordinary company when it comes to accepting all the “others” and working actively to promote respect and inclusion. As a leader, I have a desire to mentor and help others find their sweet spot and thrive, and it’s important to me that no one feels like the “other” on our team. No doubt, we have work to do in our workplace and community, but I see green shoots of progress every day. I’m so excited to see the green shoots blossom!

Collaborating to protect nearly anonymous animals

When you have a lot of people working in a Google Doc it can look like a zoo, with anonymous animals popping into your document to write (or howl, bark or moo) their feedback. Today, 13 new animals—like the african wild dog, grey reef shark and cheetah—are joining the pack. Though they may be excellent collaborators, they also need our help.

It’s Endangered Species Day, and we’re teaming up with World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Netflix's “Our Planet” to raise awareness around animals that are at risk.

Google Cloud WWF Netflix.png

According to WWF, wildlife populations have dwindled by 60 percent in less than five decades. And with nearly 50 species threatened with extinction today, technology has a role to play in preventing endangerment.

With artificial intelligence (AI), advanced analytics and apps that speed up collaboration, Google is helping companies like WWF in their work to save our precious planets’ species. Here are some of the ways.

  • Curating wildlife data quickly. A big part of increasing conservation efforts is having access to reliable data about the animals that are threatened. To help, WWF and Google have joined a number of other partners to create the Wildlife Insights platform, a way for people to share wildlife camera trap images. Using AI, the species are automatically identified, so that conservationists can act quicker to help recover global wildlife populations.
  • Predicting wildlife trade trends. Using Google search queries and known web page content, Google can help organizations like WWF predict wildlife trade trends similar to how we can help see flu outbreaks coming. This way, we can help prevent a wildlife trafficking crisis quicker.
  • Collaborating globally with people who can help. Using G Suite, which includes productivity and collaboration apps like Docs and Slides, Google Cloud, WWF and Netflix partnered together to draft materials and share information quickly to help raise awareness for Endangered Species Day (not to mention, cut back on paper).

What you can do to help
Conservation can seem like a big, hairy problem that’s best left to the experts to solve. But there are small changes we can make right now in our everyday lives. When we all collaborate together to make these changes, they can make a big difference.

Check out this Slides presentation to find out more about how together, we can help our friends. You can also take direct action to help protect our planet on the “Our Planet” website.

Collaborating to protect nearly anonymous animals

When you have a lot of people working in a Google Doc it can look like a zoo, with anonymous animals popping into your document to write (or howl, bark or moo) their feedback. Today, 13 new animals—like the african wild dog, grey reef shark and cheetah—are joining the pack. Though they may be excellent collaborators, they also need our help.

It’s Endangered Species Day, and we’re teaming up with World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Netflix's “Our Planet” to raise awareness around animals that are at risk.

Google Cloud WWF Netflix.png

According to WWF, wildlife populations have dwindled by 60 percent in less than five decades. And with nearly 50 species threatened with extinction today, technology has a role to play in preventing endangerment.

With artificial intelligence (AI), advanced analytics and apps that speed up collaboration, Google is helping companies like WWF in their work to save our precious planets’ species. Here are some of the ways.

  • Curating wildlife data quickly. A big part of increasing conservation efforts is having access to reliable data about the animals that are threatened. To help, WWF and Google have joined a number of other partners to create the Wildlife Insights platform, a way for people to share wildlife camera trap images. Using AI, the species are automatically identified, so that conservationists can act quicker to help recover global wildlife populations.
  • Predicting wildlife trade trends. Using Google search queries and known web page content, Google can help organizations like WWF predict wildlife trade trends similar to how we can help see flu outbreaks coming. This way, we can help prevent a wildlife trafficking crisis quicker.
  • Collaborating globally with people who can help. Using G Suite, which includes productivity and collaboration apps like Docs and Slides, Google Cloud, WWF and Netflix partnered together to draft materials and share information quickly to help raise awareness for Endangered Species Day (not to mention, cut back on paper).

What you can do to help
Conservation can seem like a big, hairy problem that’s best left to the experts to solve. But there are small changes we can make right now in our everyday lives. When we all collaborate together to make these changes, they can make a big difference.

Check out this Slides presentation to find out more about how together, we can help our friends. You can also take direct action to help protect our planet on the “Our Planet” website.

Increasing Diversity: Cloud Study Jam for Women Techmakers in Europe

Posted by Franziska Hauck, DevRel Ecosystem Regional Lead DACH

When we look at the community landscape in programming in 2019, we find people of all backgrounds and with expertise as varied as the people themselves. There are developer groups for every imaginable interest out there. What becomes apparent, though, is that the allocation is not as equally balanced as it might be. In Europe, we observe that more programming women are in front-end development and active in the associated groups.

But what about in cloud? Recently, Global Knowledge published a ranking that showed that Google Cloud Certification is the most coveted achievement in the labor market. We knew that the interest was there. How could we capture it and get more women and diverse poeple involved? [Indeed, we had seen women succeed and in this chosen field at that. It was time to contribute to seeing more success stories coming our way.]

Immediately the Cloud Study Jam came to mind. This campaign is a self-study, highly individualized study jam for Google Developer Groups (GDGs) and other tech meetups. Organizers get access to study materials to help them prepare for their event, register it on the global map and conduct the activity with their attendees in any location they choose. Attendees receive free Qwiklabs credits to complete a number of courses of their choice. The platform even offers a complete Google Cloud environment - the best training ground for aspiring and advanced programmers!

GDGs form one pillar of our community programs. One of the other cornerstones is the Women Techmakers program with which we engage and involve organizers interested in increasing diversity worldwide. Cloud Study Jams in the local groups, with dedicated Women Techmakers, seemed like the most natural fit for us. And, as we soon realized, so thought the organizers.

For us - Almo, Abdallah and Franziska - that was the start of a great initiative and an even bigger road trip. Together with local volunteers from Google and the groups, we held 11 Cloud Study Jams all over Europe in March and April.

Over 450 attendees, 80 % of them women, learned about Cloud technologies.

This was some of their feedback:

“This made me aim for the Cloud Certificate exam as my next goal in my career!”

“I found useful everything! The labs are interesting... and I would like to have more meetups like this.”

“The labs are interesting, at least both that we did. I would like to have more meetups like this!”

As surmised, many attendees were indeed front-end developers. It was amazing to see that, with the courses, they “converted” to Cloud and are now going forward as ambassadors. We also saw quite a big number of data scientists and back-end developers. All in all, it was a great mix of enthusiastic participants.

Cloud Study Jams are a great way to engage group members by guided materials. The way they are designed makes it easy for the organizers to focus on the participants. Since attendees follow their chosen courses on their own organizers act as facilitators. They need only jump in when organizational questions arise.

If you would like to hold a Cloud Study Jam with your group or organization you will find more information here. Register your event via the link to get access to the free Qwiklabs credits for your attendees.

We are very much looking forward to supporting you!

Almo, Abdallah, Franziska & the European DevRel Ecosystem

Cloud Covered: What was new with Google Cloud in April

Spring was blooming as we welcomed thousands of people to our big annual event: Google Cloud Next ’19. We heard great stories about how customers are growing their businesses with cloud, and we planted the seeds for lots of new ideas and connections. Read on to catch up on Next and what else was new last month with Google Cloud.

We introduced our new cloud service.
Our big news in April, introduced by Sundar on stage at Next ’19, was Anthos, our open cloud platform. Anthos is a way for application developers to cut out the extra time they currently have to spend writing applications. For example, a developer might currently write code for an app running in their data center, and then have to rewrite it to work on another cloud, or in Google Cloud. Anthos lets developers package their code once, then run it across different types of clouds, which will save a ton of time.    

There’s a new way to stash data in the cloud.
If you’ve ever had to track down an old email containing important information, you know how suddenly necessary that email becomes, even if you received it years ago. That’s the idea behind archive storage, which is a way for companies to store data for a long time, more cheaply than data they might need to access regularly. At Next ‘19, we announced a new type of cloud storage that will let companies store that data in a way that will let them access it right away if and when they need it. It’s like a digital storage unit, and could be particularly useful for companies that have to store data for legal or compliance reasons.

There are some new ways to crunch the numbers.
One popular way to use Google Cloud is for analyzing data. BigQuery is one of our cloud-based tools for storing data (known as a data warehouse) that can quickly store and analyze huge amounts of data. Companies can learn from the data and get new information that would be slow or difficult to get from traditional, non-cloud data warehouses, helping them make decisions and work more efficiently. These tools are popular and growing—the  volume of data analyzed in BigQuery grew by more than 300 percent in the past year. We recently added new features that make it easier to get a company’s data into the cloud, and then to clean it up (by taking out duplicate information, for example) and organize it.

We wished Gmail a happy birthday.
Now that Gmail is 15, it lets you schedule when you send emails and reply to a Google Docs comment directly within an email thread (no more flipping back and forth). Plus, Smart Compose in Gmail is now available in Spanish, French, Italian and Portuguese.

122 other things happened at Next.
So many new products, features, and customer stories came out of Next ‘19 that we made a list of all 122 announcements from the show. The list starts with new regions coming online—those are new data centers that can help users get faster cloud access—and runs down all kinds of techie news. Scroll down to see some cool customer stories, such as UPS using GCP to help efficiently deliver millions of packages per day.

That’s a wrap for April! We’ll see you next month.

Exploring new possibilities in cloud-based education technology

Editor’s note:We’re at Google Cloud Next ‘19 this week in San Francisco. If you’re attending Next ’19, visit the Industry Solutions booth and follow along on Twitter and Facebook for more updates.

The best educators foster a culture of curiosity. They know that students who ask questions are the ones who grow up to become researchers, inventors and life-long learners. At Google Cloud Next ‘19, we’re showcasing how teachers can integrate the right technology to help them engage all students, while encouraging agency and a love of learning.

As of today, 90 million teachers and students are using G Suite for Education worldwide. As the numbers grow, so do we, adapting our solutions to meet the changing needs of learners, educators, researchers and administrators everywhere.

Many of these new features are ones that educators and administrators can use to deliver more personalized learning, in ways that work for each individual student. Here’s a look at the latest G Suite updates that bring cloud-based enhancements to the classroom.

Learning for all

New updates to Hangouts Meet and Slides make learning more accessible for everyone.

  • Closed captions in Google Slides (only on Chrome web browsers) use machine learning to turn on automated closed captioning when you’re presenting. Captions are currently available in the U.S. in English only.

  • Also rolling out today, automatic live captions in Hangouts Meet can be turned on to add captioning to virtual professional development sessions or remote lessons. Powered by Google’s speech recognition technology, this feature provides support and the ability to follow along in Hangouts Meet, especially for those who are hearing impaired or English as a New Language Learners.

  • Starting today, you can insert audio files directly into Slides from Drive, enhancing presentations with short or long clips, and especially useful for flipped learning lessons.

Now you can turn on closed captions in Hangouts Meet

                                    Now you can turn on closed captions in Hangouts Meet.

Fostering better collaboration

We’re also making a few updates to support the collaboration that happens within G Suite.

  • Collaborate on Microsoft Office lets students and educators work together on Microsoft Office files in real-time, directly from G Suite. This means that starting today, you can edit Office files from Google Docs, Slides and Sheets, without having to worry about converting file types. This also allows you to tap into G Suite features, like the Explore, while using Office.

  • Now in beta, Hangouts Chat in Gmail replaces Classic Hangouts in Gmail with an improved chat experience, making it easier for students to collaborate with each other or with their instructors.

  • Available now, Hangouts Meet on Jamboard lets educators deliver lessons remotely to students who are unable to come into school, teach higher education classes and hold meetings directly from Jamboard.

  • Google Voice gives educators and administrators a unique phone number that works from anywhere, on any device, perfect for communication with parents and guardians. Google’s AI is built in to help you transcribe voicemails and block spam calls. Voice takes care of assigning a phone number, porting and billing, making it easy for admins to provision and manage. Google Voice is available now as an add-on subscription.

Boosting productivity

Educators, researchers and IT administrators need access to data to help them make well-informed decisions. The following new updates help institutions use data to work smarter and build a more effective learning and teaching experience.

  • Coming soon, connected Sheets will let you collaborate on up to 10 billion rows of BigQuery data right from within Sheets, without needing SQL. You can use the Sheets interface to view learner data (like grades), analyze progress with formulas and pivot tables and visualize results with charts.

  • Schedule send in Gmail, a feature that’s live today, lets you schedule email to be sent at a more appropriate date or time, which is helpful if you’re working across time zones, or want to avoid interrupting someone’s vacation.

  • Comparison in Docs, which will be available soon, streamlines marking assignments by letting you compare two Google Docs and review the differences as suggested edits in a new Doc.

  • Also coming soon, themes allows you to quickly style multiple Sheets element—like charts and pivot tables. This helps keep style consistent throughout your spreadsheets.

  • With metadata in Drive, you’ll soon be able to edit the metadata, or information that provides information about other data, of files in Drive to better organize and search your educational materials. For example, you can create a saved search to instantly find all files tagged “lesson plan” or aligned to a certain standard.

Connected Sheets expands the capabilities of Sheets to up to 10 billion rows

        Connected Sheets expands the capabilities of Sheets to up to 10 billion rows.

Expanding the reach of educators

G Suite Enterprise for Education provides best-in-class teaching and learning tools for education institutions. Now, with Google Voice and updates to Hangouts Meet, educators, researchers and administrators can reach even more learners. Below are three updates that will be available soon.

  • Public live streaming means you can now live stream over Hangouts Meet to up to 100,000 out-of-domain users, especially useful for distance learning or online course offerings.

  • With Hangouts Meet, we’ve increased the number of participants to up to 250, perfect for large online lectures across time zones.

  • Mobile audio allows you to use your mobile device on audio-only mode during lessons over Hangouts Meet. This makes lessons more accessible, even on poor network connections.

These updates open new possibilities for our 90 million teachers, administrators, and learners using G Suite for Education.

The cloud demystified: How it works and why it matters

Whether you’re backing up photos or streaming our favorite TV shows, you may know it’s all made possible by the cloud. But for a lot of us, that’s where the understanding ends. With Next ’19, Google Cloud’s annual customer conference, this week, it’s a good time to ask: What is this cloud, anyway?

Before cloud, businesses maintained fleets of computers (known as “servers” in tech speak) to create websites and apps, and to equip employees with the software needed to build them. Those computers stayed in a server room or a nearby data center, connected by an internal network and to the broader internet. A company’s IT team had to monitor all those computers, network cables and other equipment—and keep it all working for employees, under budget. So that meant that every few years, the IT team bought new computers and took care of any maintenance and upgrades, like adding a new networking line or new software.

Cut to today: we have faster computing speeds and better internet connectivity, and these have made it easier for computers around the world to connect quickly. It’s no longer necessary for businesses to own servers and data centers. Since Google already has a massive global network—made up of things like our own data centers and undersea cables—we can provide that infrastructure to businesses so they can build products and services. In a nutshell, that’s what Google Cloud is—access to Google’s global infrastructure and all the state-of-the-art tools we’ve created over time to serve Google’s billions of users.

This new way of building in the cloud has resulted in changes to the way that companies use computers and other technology.

Why is the cloud such a big deal?

The cloud took the tech world by storm, and it keeps growing for consumer and business uses. Companies want to use the newest, fastest technology, which isn’t possible when you’re only buying new computers every few years.

Public cloud providers allow companies to use the newest technology without having to buy and maintain it themselves. Google Cloud, for example, maintains complicated networks that can quickly move data around the world. Keeping information secure, a challenge for businesses, is also easier with the cloud, since encryption is built in. Plus, the huge scale of cloud means it can run apps faster.

Cloud companies can also be more efficient with space and power. At Google, we buy enough wind and solar to offset the electricity we use, so our customers can get sustainability benefits they might not get on their own.
Cooling towers at a data center in Belgium.png

Cooling towers at a data center in Belgium

How does cloud affect your everyday life?

When businesses started using the cloud, their customers started using the cloud, too. It makes lots of what we do on our phones, tablets, and laptops possible. For example, Gmail became popular pretty quickly, because it offered a lot more storage so you could keep all your emails—even ones with large attachments. Gmail works because instead of storing emails on one limited server somewhere, a giant network of servers stores those emails. When you check your email, a server in one of those data centers is finding and downloading your newest emails and routing them to your computer or phone. Plus, because Gmail is cloud-based, this opens up opportunities for machine learning to help you in ways you might not notice, like blocking phishing and spam attempts to your inbox.  

What do people talk about at a cloud conference?

When 30,000 or so people converge in San Francisco at Google Cloud Next ’19 this week, they’ll be choosing from hundreds of sessions, panels, and tutorials to learn about cloud computing. Some attendees may be just getting started with the cloud and need to learn the basics, while others are exploring advanced concepts like AI and machine learning. Lots of the sessions explain how Google Cloud-specific products can be used. There are sessions on connecting products from outside of Google Cloud into ours and showing business users how to move their data into the cloud.

That’s your start to understanding cloud. If you want to learn more, tune in to our Next livestream all week.

Source: Gmail Blog


Cloud Covered: What was new with Google Cloud in March

March came in with a roar here at Google Cloud, with the start of the NCAA’s annual college basketball tournament and an exciting Pi Day. We’re looking forward to cloud’s annual conference next week: Google Cloud Next, where thousands of attendees will come to San Francisco to discuss all things cloud, learn new skills, and network with peers. Read on for more of what was new last month in Google Cloud.

Try a slice of 𝛑, made fresh in the cloud.
Every year on March 14, mathematicians (and those of us who love pie) celebrate Pi Day, marking the first three digits of 𝛑, or 3.14, the number that goes on forever. This might sound familiar from elementary school math classes, but calculating pi digits is still alive and well. One Google Cloud developer, Emma Haruka Iwao, fulfilled her longtime dream on March 14, 2019 and calculated 31.4 trillion digits of pi, earning a Guinness World Record in the process. It was also the first time the world record was broken using cloud computing, which allowed the complex calculations to run continuously and reliably over several months. Using the power of Google Cloud to calculate pi also means the results are now publicly accessible to developers worldwide (unlike in pre-cloud days, when results had to be shipped on physical hard drives). You can explore more here. And at the Google Cloud Next conference, Emma will give a technical deep-dive on the details of how the record was broken.

Cloud shoots, and scores, with NCAA historical data.
Wrangling huge amounts of data is at the heart of what Google Cloud Platform (GCP) does. So our ongoing NCAA partnership makes a lot of sense considering their collected 80-plus years worth of basketball data. Last year, we made real-time predictions and insights during the games using GCP to analyze data, and this year we’ll invite student developers to join in. For this year’s tournament, we added new online classes to help developers explore NCAA data using our data analysis and machine learning tools.

Google Cloud powers gamers around the world.
At this year's Game Developers Conference, Google Cloud unveiled how it is helping power some of the world's largest AAA games, including Apex Legends and Tom Clancy's The Division 2. Our global infrastructure helps ensure that players across the world connect and enjoy low-latency online game experiences together.

Climb every region, till you find your cloud.
Our newest GCP region opened last month in Zurich, Switzerland—there are now six GCP regions in Europe and 19 in total. A region is a Google Cloud geographic location where customers can store data and run applications using GCP. Having a region nearby with three zones means businesses gain faster access to data and higher availability.

Make your cloud knowledge official at Next ‘19.
The rate of change in technology is accelerating, and this is especially true of cloud technology. As a result, training has become essential to keep IT teams abreast of the latest technologies so they can build products for users. As cloud grows in popularity and complexity, cloud certifications have emerged, including GCP certifications, as a benchmark to identify skilled cloud architects, data engineers, cloud developers, security engineers and more. This year’s Google Cloud Next conference will offer six certification exam options.

That’s a wrap for this month. Keep up-to-date on Google Cloud news on the blog.

A recipe for beating the record of most-calculated digits of pi

Editor’s note: Today, March 14, is Pi Day (3.14). Here at Google, we’re celebrating the day with a new milestone: A team at Google has broken the Guinness World RecordsTMtitle for most accurate value of pi.

Whether or not you realize it, pi is everywhere you look. It’s the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter, so the next time you check your watch or see the turning wheels of a vehicle go by, you’re looking at pi. And since pi is an irrational number, there’s no end to how many of its digits can be calculated. You might know it as 3.14, but math and science pros are constantly working to calculate more and more digits of pi, so they can test supercomputers (and have a bit of healthy competition, too).

While I’ve been busy thinking about which flavor of pie I’m going to enjoy later today, Googler Emma Haruka Iwao has been busy using Google Compute Engine, powered by Google Cloud, to calculate the most accurate value of pi—ever. That’s 31,415,926,535,897 digits, to be exact. Emma used the power of the cloud for the task, making this the first time the cloud has been used for a pi calculation of this magnitude.

Here’s Emma’s recipe for what started out as a pie-in-the-sky idea to break a Guinness World Records title:

Step 1: Find inspiration for your calculation.

When Emma was 12 years old, she became fascinated with pi. “Pi seems simple—it starts with 3.14. When I was a kid, I downloaded a program to calculate pi on my computer,” she says. “At the time, the world record holders were Yasumasa Kanada and Daisuke Takahashi, who are Japanese, so it was really relatable for me growing up in Japan.”

Later on, when Emma was in college, one of her professors was Dr. Daisuke Takahashi, then the record holder for calculating the most accurate value of pi using a supercomputer. “When I told him I was going to start this project, he shared his advice and some technical strategies with me.”

Step 2: Combine your ingredients.

To calculate pi, Emma used an application called y-cruncher on 25 Google Cloud virtual machines. “The biggest challenge with pi is that it requires a lot of storage and memory to calculate,” Emma says. Her calculation required 170 terabytes of data to complete—that's roughly equivalent to the amount of data in the entire Library of Congress print collections.

Emma

Step 3: Bake for four months.

Emma’s calculation took the virtual machines about 121 days to complete. During that whole time, the Google Cloud infrastructure kept the servers going. If there’d been any failures or interruptions, it would’ve disrupted the calculation. When Emma checked to see if her end result was correct, she felt relieved when the number checked out. “I started to realize it was an exciting accomplishment for my team,” she says.

Step 4: Share a slice of your achievement.

Emma thinks there are a lot of mathematical problems out there to solve, and we’re just at the beginning of exploring how cloud computing can play a role. “When I was a kid, I didn’t have access to supercomputers. But even if you don’t work for Google, you can apply for various scholarships and programs to access computing resources,” she says. “I was very fortunate that there were Japanese world record holders that I could relate to. I’m really happy to be one of the few women in computer science holding the record, and I hope I can show more people who want to work in the industry what’s possible.”

At Google, Emma is a Cloud Developer Advocate, focused on high-performance computing and programming language communities. Her job is to work directly with developers, helping them to do more with the cloud and share information about how products work. And now, she’s also sharing her calculations: Google Cloud has published the computed digits entirely as disk snapshots, so they’re available to anyone who wants to access them. This means anyone can copy the snapshots, work on the results and use the computation resources in less than an hour. Without the cloud, the only way someone could access such a large dataset would be to ship physical hard drives. 

Today, though, Emma and her team are taking a moment to celebrate the new world record. And maybe a piece of pie, too. Emma’s favorite flavor? “I like apple pie—not too sweet.”

For the technical details on how Emma used Google Compute Engine to calculate pi, head over to the Google Cloud Platform blog.

Cloud Covered: What was new with Google Cloud in February

February is a time for chocolate and candy hearts, but you know what's really sweet? Less email spam and apps that work faster. Those are just two of our updates from Google Cloud last month. Read on for what was new and popular last month on the Google Cloud blog.

Gmail: now with even less spam.

Gmail already blocks 99.9 percent of spam email for users, and a new application of our machine learning framework TensorFlow is now helping to block 100 million more spam messages every day. TensorFlow does this by detecting new types of spam messages by identifying potentially suspicious patterns in large data sets more efficiently than humans can. So this use of machine learning means it’s easier to stop new types of spam, which are constantly emerging.  

You can move to and from the cloud with a hybrid platform.

Working in the cloud means that businesses won’t run their back-end computers (known as servers) at their own location anymore, but will instead use a cloud provider to run them in the cloud. Hybrid cloud is the concept of a business running some of their servers with a cloud provider, in a cloud provider’s data center, and keeping other servers in their own data centers. Last month’s hybrid cloud announcement brought news that this is now a lot easier for businesses using Google Cloud Platform (GCP) to do. The Cloud Services Platform (CSP) launch means that developers can build and, IT teams can run, their applications both in the cloud and in their own data center with a consistent experience.

A database could be the secret sauce that helps build apps faster.

Lots of us—or maybe most of us—depend pretty heavily on our phone applications to book transportation, find restaurants, order food and do lots of other everyday tasks. There’s a lot under the hood that makes those apps work well and stay updated all the time. We announced last month that the Cloud Firestore database is generally available, and described some of the ways to use it for  building mobile, web, and IoT apps. One media company used Cloud Firestore to build a real-time media feed so users would see the latest news updated across all their devices.

We introduced a new sandbox (but not the messy kind).

The idea of a sandbox in the tech world isn’t that different from the kind you see at playgrounds: It’s essentially a contained area to explore and play, using software development tools instead of shovels and buckets. There’s a new type of sandbox for IT students, developers and other experimenters to use Google Cloud’s BigQuery without having to enter credit card information.  BigQuery is a Google Cloud product that lets companies ask questions of their collected data, such as to track business trends over time, or to explore publicly available data sets, such as NOAA weather data, to include in their own applications. BigQuery sandbox users get the same compute power as paying users, and just like paying users can use new capabilities like BigQuery Machine Learning and BigQuery Geospatial Information Systems.

It’s easier to explore cryptocurrencies and blockchains.

On the topic of publicly available data sets, we released six new cryptocurrency blockchain data sets last month. What does that mean, you might ask? The blockchain itself is a list of records, and a cryptocurrency is a type of, well, currency that’s exchanged online and secured by cryptography. Bitcoin may be the most well-known example of a cryptocurrency based on blockchain, but there are others as well. Adding these six new blockchain data sets mean that BigQuery users can explore and analyze data to understand how these cryptocurrencies really work, and integrate them into other financial data management systems.

That’s a wrap for February. Make sure to check out our upcoming Google Cloud Next ‘19 conference to read lots more about cloud.