Tag Archives: google cloud

The Google Cloud Startup Summit is coming on June 2, 2022

Posted by Chris Curtis, Startup Marketing Manager at Google Cloud

We’re excited to announce our annual Google Cloud Startup Summit will be taking place on June 2nd, 2022.

We hope you will join us as we bring together our startup & VC communities. Join us to dive into topics relevant to startups and enjoy sessions such as:

The future of web3

  • Hear from Google Cloud CEO, Thomas Kurian and Dapper Labs Co-founder and CEO, Roham Gharegozlou, as they discuss web3 and how startups can prepare for the paradigm changes it brings.

VC AMA: Startup Summit Edition

  • Join us for a very special edition of the VC AMA series where we’ll have a discussion with Derek Zanutto from CapitalG, Alison Lange Engel from Greycroft and Matt Turck from FirstMark to discuss investment trends and advice for founders around cloud, data, and the future of disruption in legacy industries.

What’s new for the Google for Startups Cloud Program

  • Exciting announcements from Ryan Kiskis, Director of the Startup Ecosystem at Google Cloud, on how Google Cloud is investing in the startup ecosystem with tailored programs and offers.

Technical leaders & business sessions

  • Growth insights from top startups Discord, Swit, and Streak on how their tech stack helped propel their growth.

Additionally, startups will have an opportunity to join ‘Ask me Anything’ live sessions after the event to interact with Google Cloud startup experts and technical teams to discuss questions that may come up throughout the event.

You can see the full agenda here to get more details on the sessions.

We can’t wait to see you at the Google Cloud Startup Summit. Register to secure your spot today.

Creating new career opportunities with Google Cloud

A year ago, in a forum with chief technology officers from our Google Cloud Partner network, there was one topic on everybody's mind: talent. Or more specifically, a lack of it. All the leaders in the room were finding it incredibly difficult to hire, train and retain top cloud talent. I was hosting this forum and so went away to think how we could best solve this challenge and grow the pool of available cloud-skilled individuals.

In my day job, I lead a team of engineers in the U.K. and Ireland who work with our partners’ technical teams to enable and support them in delivering Google Cloud technologies to our customers. So I was motivated to solve this skills gap. This is not unique to us, either: we know from Gartner that through 2022, insufficient cloud Infrastructure as a service skills will delay half of enterprise IT organisations’ migration to the cloud by two years or more. So this is an industry-wide challenge.

We wanted to do something locally, to help grow the pool of available skilled individuals, ideally tapping into underrepresented groups. This was the genesis of Project Katalyst: to create a programme that would provide equal access to job opportunities for young people who may not have had the chance to go university, giving underrepresented groups a path into a rewarding, well-paid and growing tech sector. Yes, it’s Katalyst with a K, not the traditional C; this is a nod to Kubernetes, a key component of the training. In the recent LinuxFoundation 2021 Jobs Report, cloud and container technologies were ranked as the hottest skill.

To do this quickly at a large scale, we needed to work with a partner with experience in this area. We were introduced to Generation UK, a charity which already does exactly what we are looking to achieve. After our first meeting, it was clear we were completely aligned. Over the following months, as we developed the programme with Generation UK, their drive and expertise has been invaluable in creating the ideal way to prepare, place and support people into careers that would otherwise be inaccessible, all on Google Cloud.

Google already does a lot to make the workplace as inclusive as possible. For me, the Katalyst programme helps us to bring part of that inclusivity to our partners and the wider communities we live in. Growing up, I always thought one day I would be a teacher, following in my mother’s footsteps. While I took a different career path, for me it’s fantastic to have the opportunity, through this programme, to enable life-changing careers, supporting others to learn and hopefully enjoy working with Google Cloud as much as I do, fulfilling, in part, a dream I once had.

The Katalyst programme is 12 weeks long, with the initial pilot running this summer 2022, covering both technical and soft skills training. On the course, participants will go through the Google Cloud Digital Leader certification,and will also do much of the training for the Google Cloud Associate Cloud Engineer certification, which they will be expected to complete in the first six months of their new roles, once they start at our Google Cloud Partners.

Participants will then get to meet and interview for confirmed roles at our Google Cloud Partners with an expected annual salary of up to £30,000 in London. To grow the pool of underrepresented people working on our technology and the workplace in general, the programme is aimed at participants representing a balance of genders, ethnic minority communities, young people who are furthest away from the labour market through no fault of their own, individuals who are not in education, employment or training for more than 6 months, or those with a mental or physical challenge, who've not had a chance to develop their skills. The hope is to then expand this out to other locations in the U.K. and beyond, as well as our customers’ organisations, after we deliver a successful pilot.

If you would like to offer a place to one of our participants at your organisation, you can learn more here or if you are interested in applying for one of the places, or know someone who might, you can apply on Generation UK’s site

Mosquitos get the swat with new forecasting technology

Mosquitoes aren’t just the peskiest creatures on Earth; they infect more than 700 million people a year with dangerous diseases like Zika, Malaria, Dengue Fever, and Yellow Fever. Prevention is the best protection, and stopping mosquito bites before they happen is a critical step.

SC Johnson — a leading developer and manufacturer of pest control products, consumer packaged goods, and other professional products — has an outsized impact in reducing the transmission of mosquito-borne diseases. That’s why Google Cloud was honored to team up with one of the company’s leading pest control brands, OFF!®, to develop a new publicly available, predictive model of when and where mosquito populations are emerging nationwide. 

As the planet warms and weather changes, OFF! noticed month-to-month and year-to-year fluctuations in consumer habits at a regional level, due to changes in mosquito populations. Because of these rapid changes, it’s difficult for people to know when to protect themselves. The OFF!Cast Mosquito Forecast™, built on Google Cloud and available today, will predict mosquito outbreaks across the United States, helping communities protect themselves from both the nuisance of mosquitoes and the dangers of mosquito-borne diseases — with the goal of expanding to other markets, like Brazil and Mexico, in the near future. 

An animated gif titled ‘Mosquito Habitat: Current & Projected’ shows projections for the number of months per year when disease transmission from the Aedes aegypti mosquito is possible as it increases over time from 2019 to 2080. The projection is based on a worst-case scenario in which the impact of climate change is unmitigated.

Source: Sadie J. Ryan, Colin J. Carlson, Erin A. Mordecai, and Leah R. Johnson

With the OFF!Cast Mosquito Forecast™, anyone can get their local mosquito prediction as easily as a daily weather update. Powered by Google Cloud’s geospatial and data analytics technologies, OFF!Cast Mosquito Forecast is the world’s first public technology platform that predicts and shares mosquito abundance information. By applying data that is informed by the science of mosquito biology, OFF!Cast accurately predicts mosquito behavior and mosquito populations in specific geographical locations.

Starting today, anyone can easily explore OFF!Cast on a desktop or mobile device and get their local seven-day mosquito forecast for any zip code in the continental United States. People can also sign up to receive a weekly forecast. To make this forecasting tool as helpful as possible, OFF! modeled its user interface after popular weather apps, a familiar frame of reference for consumers.

Animated gif shows how you enter your zip code into the Off!Cast Mosquita forecast to see a 7-day mosquito forecast for your area, similar to a weather forecast. It shows the mosquito forecast range from medium, high to very high.

SC Johnon’s OFF!Cast platform gives free, accurate and local seven-day mosquito forecasts for zip codes across the continental United States.

The technology behind the OFF!Cast Mosquito Forecast

To create this first-of-its-kind forecast, OFF! stood up a secure and production-scale Google Cloud Platform environment and tapped into Google Earth Engine, our cloud-based geospatial analysis platform that combines satellite imagery and geospatial data with powerful computing to help people and organizations understand how the planet is changing. 

The OFF!Cast Mosquito Forecast is the result of multiple data sources coming together to provide consumers with an accurate view of mosquito activity. First, Google Earth Engine extracts billions of individual weather data points. Then, a scientific algorithm co-developed by the SC Johnson Center for Insect Science and Family Health and Climate Engine experts translates that weather data into relevant mosquito information. Finally, the collected information is put into the model and distilled into a color-coded, seven-day forecast of mosquito populations. The model is applied to the lifecycle of a mosquito, starting from when it lays eggs to when it could bite a human.

It takes an ecosystem to battle mosquitos

Over the past decade, academics, scientists and NGOs have used Google Earth Engine and its earth observation data to make meaningful progress on climate research, natural resource protection, carbon emissions reduction and other sustainability goals. It has made it possible for organizations to monitor global forest loss in near real-time and has helped more than 160 countries map and protect freshwater ecosystems. Google Earth Engine is now available in preview with Google Cloud for commercial use.

Our partner, Climate Engine, was a key player in helping make the OFF!Cast Mosquito Forecast a reality. Climate Engine is a scientist-led company that works with Google Cloud and our customers to accelerate and scale the use of Google Earth Engine, in addition to those of Google Cloud Storage and BigQuery, among other tools. With Climate Engine, OFF! integrated insect data from VectorBase, an organization that collects and counts mosquitoes and is funded by the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

The model powering the OFF!Cast Mosquito Forecast combines three inputs — knowledge of a mosquito’s lifecycle, detailed climate data inputs, and mosquito population counts from more than 5,000 locations provided by VectorBase. The model’s accuracy was validated against precise mosquito population data collected over six years from more than 33 million mosquitoes across 141 different species at more than 5,000 unique trapping locations.

A better understanding of entomology, especially things like degree days and how they affect mosquito populations, and helping communities take action is critically important to improving public health.

A version of this blogpost appeared on the Google Cloud blog.

Visualizing Google Cloud with 101 illustrated references

Let’s say you make cat posters, and you want to sell them online. You can create a website, but you need to host it online so people can access it. A server hosts the code that lets customers select which cat poster they want, and then buy it. Another server hosts the database of your inventory, which tells you which posters are available to purchase, and it also hosts the image files to show customers pictures of the posters.

Now imagine your posters go viral online, and are incredibly popular. Everyone is interested in going to your website — and that means you need more servers to keep your website up and running. And that server can’t be on your computer, because imagine what happens if you have a power outage, or your computer crashes?

That’s where the cloud comes in — hosting your website on the cloud lets you just focus on the cat posters. But for someone who’s not an engineer, this stuff can get confusing.

I’m a senior developer advocate at Google Cloud, and I’m also an artist. As part of my job at Google, I constantly learn new things and find new ways to share that information with other developers in the community. I’ve learned the power of visual storytelling from my art, and I recently decided to pair up my two skill sets to help explain exactly what the cloud is in a new book, “Visualizing Google Cloud.”

Though my book, which is available for preorder, is aimed at cloud engineers and architects, there are a few lessons that anyone could find useful. For example: What is Cloud? How does it work? Why do you need storage? What is a database and what are the different types? How do you build apps? How do you analyze data? My goal with this book is to give you a visual learning path to all things cloud. And my goal is also to contribute to a good cause; part of the books’ proceeds go directly to a charity that fights malnutrition and supports the right to education.

Machine Learning Communities: Q1 ‘22 highlights and achievements

Posted by Nari Yoon, Hee Jung, DevRel Community Manager / Soonson Kwon, DevRel Program Manager

Let’s explore highlights and accomplishments of vast Google Machine Learning communities over the first quarter of the year! We are enthusiastic and grateful about all the activities that the communities across the globe do. Here are the highlights!

ML Ecosystem Campaign Highlights

ML Olympiad is an associated Kaggle Community Competitions hosted by Machine Learning Google Developers Experts (ML GDEs) or TensorFlow User Groups (TFUGs) sponsored by Google. The first round was hosted from January to March, suggesting solving critical problems of our time. Competition highlights include Autism Prediction Challenge, Arabic_Poems, Hausa Sentiment Analysis, Quality Education, Good Health and Well Being. Thank you TFUG Saudi, New York, Guatemala, São Paulo, Pune, Mysuru, Chennai, Bauchi, Casablanca, Agadir, Ibadan, Abidjan, Malaysia and ML GDE Ruqiya Bin Safi, Vinicius Fernandes Caridá, Yogesh Kulkarni, Mohammed buallay, Sayed Ali Alkamel, Yannick Serge Obam, Elyes Manai, Thierno Ibrahima DIOP, Poo Kuan Hoong for hosting ML Olympiad!

Highlights and Achievements of ML Communities

TFUG organizer Ali Mustufa Shaikh (TFUG Mumbai) and Rishit Dagli won the TensorFlow Community Spotlight award (paper and code). This project was supported by provided Google Cloud credit.

ML GDE Sachin Kumar (Qatar) posted Build a retail virtual agent from scratch with Dialogflow CX - Ultimate Chatbot Tutorials. In this tutorial, you will learn how to build a chatbot and voice bot from scratch using Dialogflow CX, a Conversational AI Platform (CAIP) for building conversational UIs.

ML GDE Ngoc Ba (Vietnam) posted MTet: Multi-domain Translation for English and Vietnamese. This project is about how to collect high quality data and train a state-of-the-art neural machine translation model for Vietnamese. And it utilized Google Cloud TPU, Cloud Storage and related GCP products for faster training.

Kaggle announced the Google Open Source Prize early this year (Winners announcement page). In January, ML GDE Aakash Kumar Nain (India)’s Building models in JAX - Part1 (Stax) was awarded.

In February, ML GDE Victor Dibia (USA)’s notebook Signature Image Cleaning with Tensorflow 2.0 and ML GDE Sayak Paul (India) & Soumik Rakshit’s notebook gaugan-keras were awarded.

TFUG organizer Usha Rengaraju posted Variable Selection Networks (AI for Climate Change) and Probabilistic Bayesian Neural Networks using TensorFlow Probability notebooks on Kaggle. They both got gold medals, and she has become a Triple GrandMaster!

TFUG Chennai hosted the two events, Transformers - A Journey into attention and Intro to Deep Reinforcement Learning. Those events were planned for beginners. Events include introductory sessions explaining the transformers research papers and the basic concept of reinforcement learning.

ML GDE Margaret Maynard-Reid (USA), Nived P A, and Joel Shor posted Our Summer of Code Project on TF-GAN. This article describes enhancements made to the TensorFlow GAN library (TF-GAN) of the last summer.

ML GDE Aakash Nain (India) released a series of tutorials about building models in JAX. In the second tutorial, Aakash uses one of the most famous and most widely used high-level libraries for Jax to build a classifier. In the notebook, you will be taking a deep dive into Flax, too.

ML GDE Bhavesh Bhatt (India) built a model for braille to audio with 95% accuracy. He created a model that translates braille to text and audio, lending a helping hand to people with visual disabilities.

ML GDE Sayak Paul (India) recently wrote Publishing ConvNeXt Models on TensorFlow Hub. This is a contribution from the 30 versions of the model, ready for inference and transfer learning, with documentation and sample code. And he also posted First Steps in GSoC to encourage the fellow ML GDEs’ participation in Google Summer of Code (GSoC).

ML GDE Merve Noyan (Turkey) trained 40 models on keras.io/examples; built demos for them with Streamlit and Gradio. And those are currently being hosted here. She also held workshops entitled NLP workshop with TensorFlow for TFUG Delhi, TFUG Chennai, TFUG Hyderabad and TFUG Casablanca. It covered the basic to advanced topics in NLP right from Transformers till model hosting in Hugging Face, using TFX and TF Serve.

How is Dev Library useful to the open-source community?

Posted by Ankita Tripathi, Community Manager (Dev Library)

Witnessing a plethora of open-source enthusiasts in the developer ecosystem in recent years gave birth to the idea of Google’s Dev Library. The inception of the platform happened in June 2021 with the only objective of giving visibility to developers who have been creating and building projects relentlessly using Google technologies. But why the Dev Library?

Why Dev Library?

Open-source communities are currently at a boom. The past 3 years have seen a surge of folks constantly building in public, talking about open-source contributions, digging into opportunities, and carving out a valuable portfolio for themselves. The idea behind the Dev Library as a whole was also to capture these open-source projects and leverage them for the benefit of other developers.

This platform acted as a gold mine for projects created using Google technologies (Android, Angular, Flutter, Firebase, Machine Learning, Google Assistant, Google Cloud).

With the platform, we also catered to the burning issue – creating a central place for the huge number of projects and articles scattered across various platforms. Therefore, the Dev Library became a one-source platform for all the open source projects and articles for Google technologies.

How can you use the Dev Library?

“It is a library full of quality projects and articles.”

External developers cannot construe Dev Library as the first platform for blog posts or projects, but the vision is bigger than being a mere platform for the display of content. It envisages the growth of developers along with tech content creation. The uniqueness of the platform lies in the curation of its submissions. Unlike other platforms, you don’t get your submitted work on the site by just clicking ‘Submit’. Behind the scenes, Dev Library has internal Google engineers for each product area who:

  • thoroughly assess each submission,
  • check for relevancy, freshness, and quality,
  • approve the ones that pass the check, and reject the others with a note.

It is a painstaking process, and Dev Library requires a 4-6 week turnaround time to complete the entire curation procedure and get your work on the site.

What we aim to do with the platform:

  • Provide visibility: Developers create open-source projects and write articles on platforms to bring visibility to their work and attract more contributions. Dev Library’s intention is to continue to provide this amplification for the efforts and time spent by external contributors.
  • Kickstart a beginner’s open-source contribution journey: The biggest challenge for a beginner to start applying their learnings to build Android or Flutter applications is ‘Where do I start my contributions from’? While we see an open-source placard unfurled everywhere, beginners still struggle to find their right place. With the Dev Library, you get a stack of quality projects hand-picked for you keeping the freshness of the tech and content quality intact. For example, Tomas Trajan, a Dev Library contributor created an Angular material starter project where they have ‘good first issues’ to start your contributions with.
  • Recognition: Your selection of the content on the Dev Library acts as recognition to the tiring hours you’ve put in to build a running open-source project and explain it well. Dev Library also delivers hero content in their monthly newsletter, features top contributors, and is in the process to gamify the developer efforts. As an example, one of our contributors created a Weather application using Android and added a badge ‘Part of Dev Library’.

    With your contributions at one place under the Author page, you can use it as a portfolio for your work while simultaneously increasing your chances to become the next Google Developer Expert (GDE).

Features on the platform

Keeping developers in mind, we’ve updated features on the platform as follows:

  • Added a new product category; Google Assistant – All Google Assistant and Smart home projects now have a designated category on the Dev Library.
  • Integrated a new way to make submissions across product areas via the Advocu form.
  • Introduced a special section to submit Cloud Champion articles on Google Cloud.
  • Included displays on each Author page indicating the expertise of individual contributors
  • Upcoming: An expertise filter to help you segment out content based on Beginner, Intermediate, or Expert levels.

To submit your idea or suggestion, refer to this form, and put down your suggestions.

Contributor Love

Dev Library as a platform is more about the contributors who lie on the cusp of creation and consumption of the available content. Here are some contributors who have utilized the platform their way. Here's how the Dev Library has helped along their journey:

Roaa Khaddam: Roaa is a Senior Flutter Mobile Developer and Co-Founder at MultiCaret Inc.

How has the Dev Library helped you?

“It gave me the opportunity to share what I created with an incredible community and look at the projects my fellow Flutter mates have created. It acts as a great learning resource.”

Somkiat Khitwongwattana: Somkiat is an Android GDE and a consistent user of Android technology from Thailand.

How has the Dev Library helped you?

“I used to discover new open source libraries and helpful articles for Android development in many places and it took me longer than necessary. But the Dev Library allows me to explore these useful resources in one place.”

Kevin Kreuzer: Kevin is an Angular developer and contributes to the community in various ways.

How has the Dev Library helped you?

“Dev Library is a great tool to find excellent Angular articles or open source projects. Dev Library offers a great filtering function and therefore makes it much easier to find the right open source library for your use case.”

What started as a platform to highlight and showcase some open-source projects has grown into a product where developers can share their learnings, inspire others, and contribute to the ecosystem at large.

Do you have an Open Source learning or project in the form of a blog or GitHub repo you'd like to share? Please submit it to the Dev Library platform. We'd love to add you to our ever growing list of developer contributors!

A program for European startups building with Cloud

After years of working for a successful beverage company, I knew e-commerce was becoming ever more popular. I’d also witnessed the power of Google Assistant in day-to-day life, and wondered: Could an AI voice assistant help e-commerce retailers better connect customers with products? So I founded my company Yosh.AI to help retail companies connect shoppers with their ideal products through Cloud technology and artificial intelligence (AI) assisted voice search.

However, with a background in corporate marketing rather than entrepreneurship, I had to learn everything from scratch: about AI, building a startup and growing the business. I found the knowledge, inspiration and mentorship I sought through the Google for Startups Accelerator, a three-month, equity-free program of intensive workshops and expert mentorship for growth-stage tech companies.

Our main goal during Google for Startups Accelerator was technical mentorship and growth. We hoped to develop close working relationships with Google Cloud throughout Europe. Google for Startups mentors introduced us to the right person at Google Cloud Germany, which led to meeting key teams at Google UK, Google France and Google in the Middle East and North Africa to expand across the region. Accelerator mentorship also led to Yosh.AI becoming a Google Cloud partner, helping retailers grow their e-commerce offerings by showing them how to implement Google Cloud technology. In just one year, we have progressed so much thanks to the key connections and product support forged during the program.

Now, I’m proud to help announce Google for Startups Accelerator: Cloud, designed to help startups building with Google Cloud learn technical, product and leadership best practices. Open for seed to Series A-stage startups based in Europe and Israel, Google for Startups Accelerator: Cloud offers 10 weeks of mentoring and technical support from Google engineers and external experts through a mix of 1-to-1 and 1-to-many learning sessions. Participants will also be paired with a dedicated Startup Success Manager for further personalized support.

The program culminates in a virtual Demo Day, during which the group can showcase their work in front of Google teams, mentors, investors, partners and others from the European startup world. After the program wraps up, startups will continue to receive Google support via the Google for Startups Accelerator alumni program and network — a community I am still active in myself.

A huge part of where I am today is because of Google for Startups support. As a female founder from a post-communist country, I had dreams but was not sure how to make them happen. Google for Startups connected me to other entrepreneurs and mentors who not only believed in me, but also helped me believe in myself. I encourage all interested founders to similarly set themselves up for success and apply to Google for Startups Accelerator: Cloud before the deadline on April 19.

Increasing Google’s investment in Poland

It has been over 15 years since we opened our first office in Poland. Back in those days, it had one room and could fit no more than three people. Since then, we have invested dynamically, mirroring the growing potential of the Polish economy. Now, we employ more than 1000 Googlers in the country. Only last year, we added over 350 people, opened our new office in Warsaw and launched a Google Cloud region — the first such investment not only in Poland, but in Central and Eastern Europe.

We are now making another step forward in reaffirming our commitment to Poland. We will invest nearly $700 million in the purchase and further development of The Warsaw HUB, a modern office complex right in the heart of Poland’s capital city. Google had moved into The Warsaw Hub as a tenant last year, opening a new office there — a home to teams working primarily on our most advanced solutions powering Google Cloud and its many global customers. It is already our largest site working on cloud technologies in Europe. With this new investment, across our sites in Warsaw we will have capacity for 2500 employees, with potential for future growth. We hope it also signals our long-term confidence in the potential that Poland and the region have as an attractive location for top talent and place to develop cutting-edge technologies.

Our work in Poland goes beyond supporting its digital economy, and right now we are extremely focused on helping those who need it most at this time. Last week we announced that Google will provide $10 million to local organizations helping refugees from the war in Ukraine who arrive into Poland. The funding will support both immediate humanitarian efforts and assistance for refugees in the first weeks of their stay in Poland, as well as their longer-terms needs. We will also be using Google’s spaces and resources to support those affected, including by using the Google for Startups Campus in Warsaw as a space where local NGOs can provide legal and psychological support to refugees. As the needs of those affected by the war change, we will be looking at other ways in which we can help.

View of the Warsaw skyline from Google's office at The Warsaw HUB

View of the Warsaw skyline from Google's office at The Warsaw HUB

Contributing to Poland’s digital growth

Over the years, we've seen first hand in Poland how technology can help people get through difficult times, but also to grow their careers and businesses for the future. As we continue to invest not only in infrastructure, but also in talent and knowledge, we are confident that Google can continue helping Poland’s economy use its advantages and the power of technology to support its future economic growth. Much like the last 15 years, we will continue partnering with business, academia, public sector and the non-governmental organizations in Poland to ensure that our continued investments in the country enable society to benefit from what technology has to offer.

Investing in the future flexible workplace

We also believe that the future of work in this new, digital economy is flexibility. Whilst the majority of our Poland-based employees want to be on-site some of the time, they also want the flexibility of working from home a couple of days a week. Some of our people will want to be fully remote. Our future office spaces in Poland will have room for all of those possibilities.

Over the next few years, we will be investing in the construction of the next workspaces in our new office in The Warsaw HUB to ensure that it is best equipped to meet the needs of our new ways of working. We'll be introducing new types of collaboration spaces for in-person teamwork and inclusive meeting rooms for hybrid working as well as de-densifying the offices to improve wellbeing and providing many amenities (like outdoor terraces) to make sure that we offer the best possible work environment for the many talented people that will be joining us in Warsaw in the near future.

Google Cloud is just the ticket for JustPark

JustPark are the nice guys of the parking world. For the uninitiated, the company exists to make parking more affordable, more convenient, and more sustainable. It started with one simple idea: to create societal change by tapping into the potential of unused spaces. And since 2006, the marketplace has allowed homeowners to get value from their empty garages and spaces while connecting drivers to otherwise underutilised parking spots all around the UK and US.

Today, JustPark connects a thriving community of some 45,000 space owners to over 5.5 million UK drivers, and 8 million worldwide, and manages parking spaces for some of the UK’s biggest Local Authorities and car parking companies. In the last year alone, they have partnered with London’s largest private transport provider, equipping it with access to off-street parking points and mobile payments technologies. In other words, it’s growing and growing fast.

But growth means increased demand. To meet this demand, JustPark needed a technology partner that would enable it to scale up sustainably and improve its existing services while taking over management of its software infrastructure to save on time and admin costs — and all without compromising on reliability or quality of service. It found the right partner in Google Cloud.

From a tight spot to the right one

With a small and agile software team of 40, JustPark needed a managed offering to take care of its software infrastructure. The company started off using Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE), a managed, production-ready environment for running containerised applications, in a way that was scalable and extensible.

More recently, it’s adopted Google BigQuery and Looker to provide scalable analysis of its data, helping to uncover the insights it needs to hone its business model and improve its services. “This was the first time we started gaining real business insight,” explains Jack Wall, Head of Engineering at JustPark. “Using these tools, we were able to use our own data to guide us to the most commercially viable decisions, especially regarding supply and demand.”

“Our adoption of GKE meant that the transition to other Google products was a no-brainer. Since we started using GKE, everything became so much easier — we could build on our services, improve the customer experience and crucially, we realised that we could leave our IT and cloud infrastructure in the hands of the experts at Google. That meant we could concentrate on continuing to perfect our business model.”

Headshot of Jack Wall, Head of Engineering at JustPark

Demand on the platform is growing fast, and JustPark needs a trustworthy partner to help it move quickly. “We’ve doubled our customer base in the last two years alone and anticipate this demand growing by a further 33% by summer 2022. Uptime is crucially important — we deal with immediate demands that require immediate connections. Any lags can be extremely annoying for customers, so it is vital that we have an architecture that is resilient and supportive. Moving forward, we’re keen to work with Google Cloud to improve the observability, reliability and resilience of our technical offering to deliver the best customer experience possible.”

A sustainable road to the future

With electric vehicle fleet offerings in growing demand, the company plans to use Looker to enable data-driven decisions that will help the UK continue to electrify its fleet. The ongoing partnership with Google, and full integration with Google Maps and G-Suite enables customers to enjoy all of the benefits of accurate traffic and location information, as well as effective business administration.

“Google Cloud’s networking model is a breath of fresh air compared to the platform we used before,” concludes Jack. “And with the architecture we have in place now, we’re confident that we’re ready to handle the volume of customers we’re anticipating in the next year.”

Ask a Techspert: What’s a subsea cable?

Whenever I try to picture the internet at work, I see little pixels of information moving through the air and above our heads in space, getting where they need to go thanks to 5G towers and satellites in the sky. But it’s a lot deeper than that — literally. Google Cloud’s Vijay Vusirikala recently talked with me about why the coolest part of the internet is really underwater. So today, we’re diving into one of the best-kept secrets in submarine life: There wouldn’t be an internet without the ocean.

First question: How does the internet get underwater?

We use something called a subsea cable that runs along the ocean floor and transmits bits of information.

What’s a subsea cable made of?

These cables are about the same diameter as the average garden hose, but on the inside they contain thin optical fibers. Those fibers are surrounded by several layers of protection, including two layers of ultra-high strength steel wires, water-blocking structures and a copper sheath. Why so much protection? Imagine the pressure they are under. These cables are laid directly on the sea bed and have tons of ocean water on top of them! They need to be super durable.

Two photographs next to each other, the first showing a cable with outer protection surrounding it. The second photograph shows a stripped cable with copper wires and optical fibers inside.

A true inside look at subsea cables: On the left, a piece of the Curie subsea cable showing the additional steel armoring for protection close to the beach landing. On the right, a cross-sectional view of a typical deep water subsea cable showing the optical fibers, copper sheath, and steel wires for protection.

Why are subsea cables important?

Subsea cables are faster, can carry higher traffic loads and are more cost effective than satellite networks. Subsea cables are like a highway that has the right amount of lanes to handle rush-hour traffic without getting bogged down in standstill jams. Subsea cables combine high bandwidths (upwards of 300 to 400 terabytes of data per second) with low lag time. To put that into context, 300 to 400 terabytes per second is roughly the same as 17.5 million people streaming high quality videos — at the same time!

So when you send a customer an email, share a YouTube video with a family member or talk with a friend or coworker on Google Meet, these underwater cables are like the "tubes" that deliver those things to the recipient.

Plus, they help increase internet access in places that have had limited connectivity in the past, like countries in South America and Africa. This leads to job creation and economic growth in the places where they’re constructed.

How many subsea cables are there?

There are around 400 subsea cables criss-crossing the planet in total. Currently, Google invests in 19 of them — a mix of cables we build ourselves and projects we’re a part of, where we work together with telecommunications providers and other companies.

Video introducing Curie, a subsea cable.

Wow, 400! Does the world need more of them?

Yes! Telecommunications providers alongside technology companies are still building them around the world. At Google, we invest in subsea cables for a few reasons: One, our Google applications and Cloud services keep growing. This means more network demand from people and businesses in every country around the world. And more demand means building more cables and upgrading existing ones, which have less capacity than their modern counterparts.

Two, you cannot have a single point of failure when you're on a mission to connect the world’s information and make it universally accessible. Repairing a subsea cable that goes down can take weeks, so to guard against this we place multiple cables in each cross section. This gives us sufficient extra cable capacity so that services aren’t affected for people around the world.

What’s your favorite fact about subsea cables?

Three facts, if I may!

First, I love that we name many of our cables after pioneering women, like Curie for Marie Curie, which connects California to Chile, and Grace Hopper, which links the U.S., Spain and the U.K. Firmina, which links the U.S., Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay, is named after Brazil’s first novelist, Maria Firmina dos Reis.

Second, I’m proud that the cables are kind to their undersea homes. They’re environmentally friendly and are made of chemically inactive materials that don't harm the flora and fauna of the ocean, and they generally don’t move around much! We’re very careful about where we place them; we study each beach’s marine life conditions and we adjust our attachment timeline so we don’t disrupt a natural lifecycle process, like sea turtle nesting season. For the most part they’re stationary and don't disrupt the ocean floor or marine life. Our goal is to integrate into the underwater landscape, not bother it.

And lastly, my favorite fact is actually a myth: Most people think sharks regularly attack our subsea cables, but I’m aware of exactly one shark attack on a subsea cable that took place more than 15 years ago. Truly, the most common problems for our cables are caused by people doing things like fishing, trawling (which is when a fishing net is pulled through the water behind a boat) and anchor drags (when a ship drifts without holding power even though it has been anchored).