Google Cloud Unveils Massive, Wide-Ranging Global Response to COVID-19

Mirroring its marketplace ambitions to become one of the world’s top cloud-computing vendors, Google Cloud has disclosed a remarkably broad and deep set of initiatives to help people, businesses and government agencies overcome the COVID-19 crisis.

The Google Cloud efforts span a vast range of objectives. They include getting 1,100 retail workers in Germany running remotely on G Suite in 48 hours, donating $20 million in cloud credits to COVID-19 researchers, handling a 25X super-spike in demand for Google Meets and more.

First and foremost, the striking array of COVID-19-related projects Google Cloud has launched (and in some cases completed) around the world is bringing much-needed support and new capabilities to students, parents, remote workers, businesses, government institutions and medical researchers. That’s what most important.

Second, it is impossible not to be impressed with the scale and scope of these relief efforts from Google Cloud. That’s certainly not the company’s objective, but as we’ve discussed on more than one occasion over the past few weeks in our series on tech’s response to COVID-19, the actions that companies take in hard and challenging times say a very great deal about the hearts and cultures of those companies.

Google Cloud leading peer vendors in terms of COVID-19 response
Across the Cloud Wars Top 10, we’ve seen high-impact and magnanimous initiatives from every company. (Check out details on those via the “Recommended Reading” box below.)

But as impressive as each of those efforts has been and continues to be, none of them in my estimation matches up to what Google Cloud is doing.

“We’re all in the midst of an extraordinary moment—not only for our teams, colleagues, and customers, but for the world at large,” writes Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian in a blog post outlining the company’s efforts.

“All over the world, businesses and users depend on Google Cloud to help them stay connected and get work done. And we take this responsibility very seriously.”

You can see the complete list of projects Kurian outlines here. From that, I’ve pulled out several that I feel are particularly impressive.

$20-million commitment to support COVID-19 research.
Offering $20 million in cloud-computing credits to academic and non-profit research teams looking into the coronavirus, Google Cloud is also offering free access to a wide range of massive COVID-19 datasets for research.
Google Cloud is also creating solutions to help researchers identify new treatments and therapies; helping hospitals track the spread of the pandemic and develop remote-patient monitoring capabilities; and helping people do self-assessments in Spain. The company has helped Australia build an app offering real-time information and advice, and helped the Peruvian judiciary system continue to function using G Meet.
Rapid development of solutions for overwhelmed agencies and hospitals.
The company is helping overtasked government agencies develop AI-based chat technology to allow citizens phoning in to get vital information more quickly.
In Oklahoma, Google Cloud worked with a partner to develop a solution that allows medical teams to engage remotely with at-risk patients rather than having to risk exposure by treating them in-person. This solution is now moving to other states as well.
Supporting the WFH and learn-at-home revolutions.
Since January, daily usage of the Google Meet video-conferencing product has surged by 25X. And that’s happened without disturbing Google’s global network and infrastructure. Advanced features of the product are being made available at no charge around the globe to customers of G Suite and G Suite for Education.
At French insurer MACIF Group, 8,000 employees who were using G Suite as part of their everyday workflows have become committed users of Google Meet by connecting in about 1,300 video meetings every day.
In Germany, luxury fashion retailer Breuninger has temporarily shifted its 5,000 employees out of its 11 stores and into its online business. To manage internal operations, Google Cloud helped get more than 1,100 employees up and running on G Suite in 48 hours. With that capability in place, Breuninger is now exploring ways G Suite can be used to engage and interact with customers.
In education, Google Cloud’s global efforts include connecting 1.3 million students in New York City to Google Classroom for remote learning. And for nonprofit Khan Academy, Google Cloud infrastructure is helping Khan handle a surge in time spent on site (up 2.5X) as well as new registrations from students and teachers (up 6X) and from parents (up 20X).
Again, you can see the full list of Google Cloud initiatives in Kurian’s blog post.

The impact of great leadership
“We’ll continue to work tirelessly on these and other initiatives to support our users, customers, and communities in this time of need,” Kurian wrote. “I’m so grateful to the many extraordinary Cloud Googlers that have worked so hard to provide so many capabilities for our customers.”

A few months ago, we named Kurian our CEO of the Year. And for all he achieved in 2019, these contributions might surpass even that.

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