Apr
17
2018
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Google Cloud releases Dialogflow Enterprise Edition for building chat apps

Building conversational interfaces is a hot new area for developers. Chatbots can be a way to reduce friction in websites and apps and to give customers quick answers to commonly asked questions in a conversational framework. Today, Google announced it was making Dialogflow Enterprise Edition generally available. It had previously been in beta.

This technology came to them via the API.AI acquisition in 2016. Google wisely decided to change the name of the tool along the way, giving it a moniker that more closely matched what it actually does. The company reports that hundreds of thousands of developers are using the tool already to build conversational interfaces.

This isn’t just an all-Google tool, though. It works across voice interface platforms, including Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa and Facebook Messenger, giving developers a tool to develop their chat apps once and use them across several devices without having to change the underlying code in a significant way.

What’s more, with today’s release the company is providing increased functionality and making it easier to transition to the enterprise edition at the same time.

“Starting today, you can combine batch operations that would have required multiple API calls into a single API call, reducing lines of code and shortening development time. Dialogflow API V2 is also now the default for all new agents, integrating with Google Cloud Speech-to-Text, enabling agent management via API, supporting gRPC, and providing an easy transition to Enterprise Edition with no code migration,” Dan Aharon, Google’s product manager for Cloud AI, wrote in a company blog post announcing the tool.

The company showed off a few new customers using Dialogflow to build chat interfaces for their customers, including KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Domino’s and Ticketmaster.

The new tool, which is available today, supports more than 30 languages and as a generally available enterprise product comes with a support package and service level agreement (SLA).

Apr
05
2018
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Google Cloud gives developers more insights into their networks

Google Cloud is launching a new feature today that will give its users a new way to monitor and optimize how their data flows between their servers in the Google Cloud and other Google Services, on-premises deployments and virtually any other internet endpoint. As the name implies, VPC Flow Logs are meant for businesses that already use Google’s Virtual Private Cloud features to isolate their resources from other users.

VPC Flow Logs monitors and logs all the network flows (both UDP and TCP) that are sent from and received by the virtual machines inside a VPC, including traffic between Google Cloud regions. All of that data can be exported to Stackdriver Logging or BigQuery, if you want to keep it in the Google Cloud, or you can use Cloud Pub/Sub to export it to other real-time analytics or security platforms. The data updates every five seconds and Google promises that using this service has no impact on the performance of your deployed applications.

As the company notes in today’s announcement, this will allow network operators to get far more insight into the details of how the Google network performs and to troubleshoot issues if they arise. In addition, it will allow them to optimize their network usage and costs by giving them more information about their global traffic.

All of this data is also quite useful for performing forensics when it looks like somebody may have gotten into your network, too. If that’s your main use case, though, you probably want to export your data to a specialized security information and event management (SIEM) platform from vendors like Splunk or ArcSight.

Mar
28
2018
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Hewlett Packard Enterprise to move HQ to San Jose

Hewlett Packard Enterprise is moving from Palo Alto to San Jose. The company will relocate 1,000 employees to a 220,000-square-foot space in late 2018. HPE was spun-off from Hewlett-Packard in 2015 and is focused on servers and storage.

This news comes months after HPE announced a different plan in which the company was moving to Santa Clara, where Aruba Networks, a company it previously acquired, is headquartered.

HPE is going to occupy six floors in San Jose’s America Center, which is located near a forthcoming Berryessa BART station.

This move is the latest win for San Jose. Google recently announced it would move in the coming years. According to a report in The Mercury News, the city of San Jose did not offer HPE any financial incentives.

Mar
16
2018
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Google expands its Cloud Platform region in the Netherlands

Google today announced that it has expanded its recently launched Cloud Platform region in the Netherlands with an additional zone. The investment, which is worth a reported 500 million euros, expands the existing Netherlands region from two to three regions. With this, all four of the Central European Google Cloud Platform zones now feature three zones (which are akin to what AWS would call “availability zones”) that allow developers to build highly available services across multiple data centers.

Google typically aims to have a least three zones in every region, so today’s announcement to expand its region in the Dutch province of Groningen doesn’t come as a major surprise.

With this move, Google is also making Cloud SpannerCloud BigtableManaged Instance Groups, and Cloud SQL available in the region.

Over the course of the last two years, Google has worked hard to expand its global data center footprint. While it still can’t compete with the likes of AWS and Azure, which currently offers more regions than any of its competitors, the company now has enough of a presence to be competitive in most markets.

In the near future, Google also plans to open regions in Los Angeles, Finland, Osaka and Hong Kong. The major blank spots on its current map remain Africa, China (for rather obvious reasons) and Eastern Europe, including Russia.

Mar
12
2018
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Clarifai rolls out an on-premise visual search tool for businesses

Clarifai has traditionally been known as a web-based visual search tool that developers can integrate into their services. But as more and more businesses start to get onto the service, with their own specific demands — like getting them in-house — the New York-based startup has to grow up a bit.

Today, the company is starting a few early steps to do just that. After raising $30 million in October 2016, the company said today that it’s going to start rolling out an on-premise solution for larger enterprises where they can use all of Clarifai’s services in-house without that data shipping outside of their own servers. Larger businesses often have their own kinds of proprietary data and customers to work with, which have myriad different demands, and sometimes have to make sure their customer data doesn’t leave their close watch — or it needs to happen so fast that it can’t afford the lag of connecting to the cloud.

“Think of a casino with 10,000 cameras that all go to a central place,” CEO Matt Zeiler said. “You have like a streaming service that’s [faster than] running through the cloud that needs to run close to the edge. The camera is there, it’s not good enough, so you have to stream it to a central hub. You have to close the latency down, scale it, and protect privacy. It’s all the same API objects and structures you would use.”

The company also said it made two hires at high-level executive spots: a VP of engineering and a VP of product. Ulas Bardak joined Clarifai to head engineering after working at Whisper, while Rajesh Talpade previously served as a product lead for Google . Both of these hires are part of that growing-up process as it starts to try to woo more businesses — and the kinds of talent it needs to build these tools.

Part of Clarifai’s pitch is that it can be a neutral party when it comes to image recognition. While companies like Google and Pinterest can have their own sets of data and build custom visual search algorithms for their products, Clarifai works to build those tools that other companies can tap in order to have their own kinds of visual search tools. It’s part of a process to hand off some of these harder processes to a third party and focus on the key elements of their products, a hallmark of web development that led to an explosion in the startup ecosystem.

“When you use something like us, our research team is continually improving algorithms, and continuing to collect data, and that’ll give you a better level of accuracy and improve over time,” Zeiler said. “That’s a huge advantage and it gets away from how fast you train. We want it to be continuously improving. That takes a lot of resources and data, but that’s the big advantage for signing up for a service like us. We’re always comparing them in terms of quantitative elements like accuracy and qualitative elements like the team that reviews the models before they get published to make sure they’re not making stupid mistakes.”

To cap all this off, Clarifai also is making a bit of a rebrand of the website. That’s a small touch, but it all adds up to ways to help articulate to businesses exactly what they do and that they are building the tools necessary to become a go-to tool for developers when it comes to visual search.

Clarifai, of course, stands at constant risk from some of these larger players and the chance that they’ll just open up their visual search algorithms for developers. There are obvious candidates, but at the same time, if they are trying to build a walled garden they probably want to keep that data and those tools to themselves. If that remains the case, it may buy Clarifai enough time to collect enough data, have all the elements of any given image or video marked up and offer a compelling enough case for businesses to adopt it.

Mar
12
2018
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Clarifai rolls out an on-premise visual search tool for businesses

 Clarifai has traditionally been known as a web-based visual search tool that developers can integrate into their services. But as more and more businesses start to get onto the service, with their own specific demands — like getting them in-house — the New York-based startup has to grow up a bit.
Today, the company is starting a few early steps to do just that. After raising $30… Read More

Mar
01
2018
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Dropbox to add native G Suite integration in new partnership with Google

 It’s been an eventful week for Dropbox coming off its announcement last Friday that it was finally going public, but that doesn’t mean the business stops. The company announced plans to partner with Google today to bring native G Suite integration to Dropbox storage. The fact is that more than 50 percent of Dropbox users have a G Suite account — which includes GMail along… Read More

Feb
28
2018
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Hangouts Chat, Google’s Slack competitor, comes out of beta

 Hangouts Chat, Google’s take on modern workplace communication, is now generally available and is becoming a core part of G Suite. Hangouts Chat was first announced at Google Cloud Next 2017, together with Hangouts Meet. While Meet went right into public availability, though, Chat went into an invite-only preview. Now, Google is rolling Chat out to all G Suite users. Read More

Feb
21
2018
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Google tries to make Android more enterprise-friendly with new recommendation program

 With so many Android devices out there to choose from, it’s not always easy to find one that’s enterprise-friendly. To help alleviate that problem, Google announced the Android Enterprise Recommended program today. As the name implies, it’s designed to point enterprise IT departments at devices that Google has deemed to be enterprise-ready. Read More

Feb
21
2018
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Google’s Cloud IoT Core is now generally available

 Cloud IoT Core, Google’s fully managed service for connecting, managing and ingesting data from IoT devices, is now out of beta and generally available. Google envisions the service, which launched in public beta last September, as the first entry point for IoT data into its cloud. Once the data has been ingested, users can use Cloud IoT Core to push data to Google’s cloud… Read More

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