Google Cloud is now postponing the virtual version of its premier annual cloud computing conference based on concerns related to the global outbreak of the deadly coronavirus (COVID-19).
“Google Cloud has decided to postpone Google Cloud Next ‘20: Digital Connect out of concern for the health and safety of our customers, partners, employees and local communities, and based on recent decisions made by the federal and local governments regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19),” Alison Wagonfeld, the No. 3 cloud provider’s chief marketing officer, said in a blog post today. “Right now, the most important thing we can do is focus our attention on supporting our customers, partners and each other.”
No new date was given for the conference.
The decision comes two weeks after Google Cloud announced that coronavirus concerns prompted it to cancel its in-person annual Next ’20 conferences -- which was slated for April 6-8 in San Francisco – and transform it into a virtual event called Google Cloud Next ’20: Digital Connect that was scheduled for the same time frame. Google Cloud was among many technology companies that decided to shift to online events in line with best practices established by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO).
“We've seen…from the medical literature as well as from the WHO and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), that isolation is a good vehicle to reduce the risk of spreading (the coronavirus),” Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian told CRN at the time. “And so, rather than bring a lot of people to an auditorium, we thought that we would reach them through a digital medium.”
More than 30,000 people attended last year’s in-person Next ’19 conference in person in San Francisco and “there were millions who watched it online,” Kurian said.
Google Cloud last week advised its North American employees to work remotely when “roles allow” to help stem the spread of coronavirus.
“Please know that we are fully committed to bringing Google Cloud Next ‘20: Digital Connect to life, but will hold the event when the timing is right,” Wagonfeld said in her blog post. “We will share the new date when we have a better sense of the evolving situation.”