Cloud boss Thomas Kurian on how Google is tackling the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic



Thomas Kurian, CEO, Google Cloud

Google Cloud has seen a surge in the use of its video conference product Google Meet, as the COVID-19 pandemic causes a large population of the world to work from home.

The cloud giant’s CEO Thomas Kurian revealed that the company has made the advance features in Google Meet free to all its G Suite and G Suite for Education customers worldwide.

Over the last few weeks, Meet’s day-over-day growth surpassed 60%, and as a result, its daily usage is more than 25 times what it was in January, according to Kurian.

“We’ve also made Meet Hardware available in additional markets, including South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Indonesia and South Africa, to ensure customers have the right hardware to complement their Meet solution,” he said in a blog post yesterday.

“We’ve heard from a number of enterprises that G Suite has helped them make the transition to remote work.

“The MACIF Group, a leading French mutual insurance provider, was able to ensure business continuity and maintain the link between its employees with G Suite, already deployed to more than 8,000 employees.

“MACIF staff shifted from in-person meetings to more than 1,300 Google Meet video meetings daily, and the use of collaborative virtual rooms facilitated important human contact and responsiveness in an unexpected period of remote work.”


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As people transition to remote work and learning in response to COVID-19, the company also announced it will be offering its portfolio of Google Cloud learning resources, including its training courses, labs on Qwiklabs, and interactive Cloud OnAir webinars for free until April 30.

The company is also supporting government efforts to fight COVID-19 by developing an AI-based chat technology for overtasked agencies to be able to respond more quickly to citizen requests.

“In the U.S., we are working with the White House and supporting institutions to develop new text and data mining techniques to examine the COVID-19 Open Research Dataset (CORD-19), the most extensive machine-readable coronavirus literature collection to date,” added Kurian.

“In Spain, we’ve set up an app for the regional government in Madrid to help citizens perform self-assessments of coronavirus symptoms and offer guidance, easing the demands on the healthcare system.

“In Peru, the Judiciary branch is using Google Meet to continue operating during the nation-wide quarantine.”

The cloud giants are also providing solutions for the health research community to identify new therapies and treatments.

“Last week, we joined the COVID-19 Healthcare Coalition, a group of healthcare, technology, and research organisations who have come together to share resources in order to fight the virus.”

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