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Google Cloud Data Analytics 2021: The year in review

As I look back on 2021 I’m proud to see a fast growing number of companies use our data platform to unlock new insights, build new business models and help improve their employees’ and their customers’ experience.

Data itself is just inactive information, useless without activation. The true power of data comes when it’s being used to build intelligent applications, help people make better decisions, increase automation and ultimately change how value is being created.

This year, tens of thousands of  customers unlocked their data advantage with Google Cloud’s unified data platform. From breaking down data silos, building internet-scale applications, building smart processes with AI, building data meshes that span beyond their enterprise and turn data into an asset.

These customers all used Google Cloud’s unified data platform to remove barriers across data silos, accelerate existing analytic investments, and achieve business outcomes faster. 

I’m truly honored to share some of the most important moments from our partners, customers, and practitioners this year. Thank you for your trust and commitment and for choosing Google Cloud as your innovation partner — to break down silos and turn data into value.

One retailer using these solutions is Carrefour, one of the largest grocery retailers in France. Carrefour needed to ensure it had the right products, in front of the right shoppers, at the right store location. With Google Cloud, Carrefour developed an assortment recommendation tool that helped the chain support a more personalized selection at the store level, giving store directors the autonomy to influence inventory needs. The tool also gives Carrefour headquarters visibility into the merchandising decisions by each of their franchise stores.

Enabling the real-time enterprise 

In 2021, more customers looked to shift to real-time data processing and insights with Google Cloud so that they could make decisions at the speed of their business and deliver excellent customer experiences. For example, Twitter’s data platform ingests trillions of events, processes hundreds of petabytes of data, and runs tens of thousands of jobs on over a dozen clusters every day. With this expanded partnership, Twitter is adopting Google’s Data Cloud including BigQuery, Dataflow, Cloud Bigtable and machine learning (ML) tools. These tools not only power the company’s rapidly growing data ecosystem to enable faster data-informed decisions, but also to enable deeper ML-driven product innovation.

Another great example is the story of Verizon Media, who switched to the Google Cloud from another provider to ingest 200TB Daily, store 100PB in BigQuery, stream 300MB per second and achieve a 90+% productivity improvement by combining Looker, BigQuery and the rest of our Data Platform.

Finally, another great journey is that of ATB Financial who migrated its extensive SAP backbone that supports its 800,000+ customers to Google Cloud, and built a system on BigQuery for real-time data acquisition, enrichment, and AI assisted and self-service analytics

Going BIG with healthcare and life sciences

HCA Healthcare is using BigQuery to analyze data from its 32 million annual encounters and identify opportunities to improve clinical care. I was particularly pleased about our partnership and how  Sam Hazen, the company’s CEO explained that “Next-generation care demands data science-informed decision support and how he described our partnership and shared passion for ”innovation and continual improvement as foundational to our efforts.”

Moderna relies on data to respond to the disproportionate impact the pandemic has had on minority groups, utilizing insights from Looker to increase diversity in their COVID-19 vaccine trials to improve representation. “Looker has a depth to it — it’s not just a visualization that you look at. People can go deeper as they learn more,” Dave Johnson, VP of Informatics, Data Science, and AI at Moderna.

We were also incredibly honored to work with the National Cancer Institute’s in order to support breast cancer research with fast and secure data sharing.  Combining our AI Platform and BigQuery to work with large and heterogeneous data, the team was able to successfully demonstrate that “researchers can inexpensively analyze large amounts of data, and do so faster than ever before.”

Increasing enterprise agility

Niantic Labs built a globally scalable game for millions of users on Google Cloud. In this video, they share their experience scaling with Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) and Spanner, and describe how their data science team works with BigQuery, Dataflow, and Pub/Sub for their data analytics needs.

Finally, Telefónica partnered with Google Cloud to foster Spain’s digital transformation and advance 5G mobile edge computing. As part of this partnership, Google Cloud will launch a new cloud region in Spain to assist the country in economic recovery amidst the COVID-19 crisis. Telefónica will also use Google Cloud services to boost its own digital capabilities—in areas such as machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), data analytics, and application development—to continue to provide new services and tools to its global customer base. 

2021 Data Cloud momentum, thanks to all our customers

Some of my favorite customer stories of this year describe how our customers inspired and pushed us to take our products and offerings to new heights. 

For me, this was most apparent at our inaugural Data Cloud Summit in late May, where we were able to unveil to our customers the latest product and feature announcements of everything having to do with data. We launched Dataplex, allowing customers and users to centrally manage, monitor, and govern data across data lakes, warehouses, and marts – all from one single viewpoint. We also announced Datastream, our serverless change data capture (CDC) and replication service, as well as Analytics Hub, a fully-managed service built on BigQuery that allows our customers to create safe and governable data sharing ecosystems. We’ve made migrations to Cloud SQL easier and faster with the Database Migration Service. More than 85% of all migrations are underway in under an hour, with the majority of customers migrating their databases from other clouds. 

At Google Cloud Next ‘21, we also had devoted space to share our product improvements and iterations back to our customers. Amidst many announcements, I was most proud to speak about Spark on Google Cloud, the world’s first autoscaling and serverless Spark service for the Google Cloud data platform, BigQuery Omni, our cross-cloud analytics solution, Google Earth Engine on Google Cloud, a launch that brings together Google Earth Engine’s 50+ petabyte catalog of satellite imagery and geospatial datasets for planetary-scale analysis, and Spanner PostgreSQL interface, which allows enterprises to take advantage of Spanner’s unmatched global scale, 99.999% availability, and strong consistency using skills and tools from the popular PostgreSQL ecosystem. 

We also held the sixth edition of JOIN, Looker’s annual user conference which included 3 days of live educational content with over 15 customers and partners participating spanning 5 keynotes, 33 breakouts, 12 how-to’s, 27 Data Circles of Success, and our popular Hackathon. Content focused on activating users with data experiences, composable analytics, and our unifiedsemantic model. All sessions from JOIN are now available on-demand.

Tapping into the data ecosystem

One of our customers’ most recurring themes was an interest in expanding their data aperture and tapping into the data ecosystem around them. We addressed this feedback in three main ways. 

First, we activated an ecosystem for collective intelligence on BigQuery. Now, more than 3,000 organizations shared more than 250 petabytes of data and Google Cloud shared more than 150 public datasets that can be used across a myriad of use cases.

Second, We also leaned into this spirit of knowledge sharing by packaging over 30 architecture design patterns which include code, data models, and industry best practices. We’ve also increased industry domain expertise in areas such as retail, financial services, healthcare, and gaming and are continuing to develop industry white papers such as this one – How to develop Global Multiplayer Games using Cloud Spanner to reduce the time to value for customers.

Third, we continue to support an open ecosystem of data partners including; Neo4j, Databricks, MongoDB, Informatica, Tableau, and C3.ai giving customers the flexibility of choice to build their data clouds without being locked into a single approach.  

Going further than we imagined, together

We are incredibly grateful to our customers for choosing Google Cloud to write their data story, and we can’t wait to see what you do next. Learn more about how organizations are building their data clouds with Google Cloud solutions.

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