Google Cloud Next, the tech company’s annual conference covering everything that is happening and will happen in the online cloud space, took place earlier this month.

Set in San Francisco, the event brings together IT leaders, developers, engineers and cloud enthusiasts to discuss what is next for Google in cloud computing. It was also a chance for Google to show off some new products and initiatives it is taking.

Here is everything you need to know from this year’s event.

Google Hangouts has undergone a major overhaul

One of the big takeaways from the event is that Alphabet has decided to redesign Google Hangouts. The service now offers virtual rooms threated conversations and integration with G suite for content sharing.

Hangout Meet now supports up to 30 attendees, and Jamboard offers white-boarding and video conferencing capabilities. This will make Google more appealing to customers that want to make remote meetings more interactive. Sessions are saved to Google Drive for later access automatically too, making collaboration even easier.

Tim Banting, principle analyst in business technology and software for GlobalData Technology, said:

“Alphabet’s redesign of Google Hangouts signifies a significant strategic shift to focus on the enterprise segment, which has been previously tarnished by many false starts. This demonstrates Alphabet commitment to business-class applications and makes G Suite more viable as an enterprise service.”

If Google wants to improve this offering, it should ensure that Hangouts Meet is more enterprise focused, such as increase its geographical support for PSTN dial-in number to appeal to businesses outside the US.

Timeline for Alphabet

Google wants to simplify the use of machine learning

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are terms that are thrown around a lot at the moment, but Google used the Cloud Next event to announce it has greatly simplified the use of ML for enterprise.

This is through the release of Machine Learning Europe to incorporate the technology into manufacturing, making it more accessible for companies to take advantage of.

As well, its Cloud Video Intelligence API was released as a beta service to operationalise ML outcomes.

“Without having to know how to build and train an ML model, developers can simply upload video content to Google Cloud Storage and use a RESTful API to access metadata from that video, such as a list of noun identifiers,” said Brad Shimmin, service director in business technology and software at GlobalData Technology.

It still has a long way to go to overtake Microsoft and Amazon

Google announced it is set to build six new data centres to take on Microsoft and Amazon. It is currently constrained to Asia-Pacific and North America regions, which means it still has a while to go in terms of providing customers with localised data and processing workloads in the likes of Europe and Latin America.

Google still has to prove its worth to businesses

Cloud Next demonstrated that Google is trying to prove its worth to businesses, instead of just being a bank of servers that houses the world’s largest search engine, it needs to show that it is a cloud platform able to take enterprises into the next phase.

“This is about innovation,” said Charlotte Dunlap, principal analyst for application platforms at GlobalData Technology.

“That’s exactly what execs focused on this week: a shift from consumer to enterprise apps that will carry large organizations into the next wave of cloud computing, which spans from high level concepts around applications that leverage AI and machine learning to build apps that actually learn outcomes, to emerging DevOps app development models and architectures.”

Google’s cloud platform is the company’s fastest-growing enterprise product in its history and its investments in technology will help it position it as the best option going forward.

Overall, Current Analysis thinks Google is moving in the right direction with its new announcements.

“Considered as a whole, Google’s newly introduced and planned improvements to Google Cloud and G Suite that were rolled out at Cloud Next 2017 reveal three important facts,” said Shimmin.

 “First, Google is capable of both scale and simplicity, doing away with (i.e., abstracting and orchestrating) low-level DevOps concerns. Second, the company knows how to put ML to work in support of both operational efficiency and business insights. And third, Google is willing and able to invest in what will be its enterprise lifeblood, namely its developer and sales ecosystems.”