Google has joined the list of tech giants who have cancelled their conferences due to the increasing health concerns around the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). The company has announced that it has cancelled the in-person Google Cloud Next conference that was due to take place from 6 to 8 April. It said that the company will now hold a virtual version of the event on the same dates, and people will be notified about the developments soon.
‘The health and wellbeing of Google Cloud customers, partners, employees, and the overall community is our top priority. Due to the growing concern around the coronavirus (COVID-19), and in alignment with the best practices laid out by the CDC, WHO, and other relevant entities, Google Cloud has decided to reimagine Google Cloud Next ’20,’ Google said in a statement. The free, global, digital-first, multi-day event – called Google Cloud Next ’20: Digital Connect – will now take place through streamed keynotes and breakout sessions.
Google Cloud Next conference is an important pit-stop for IT professionals, developers, and executives before Google I/O in May. In the cloud conference, the company talks about G Suite, Cloud, and other enterprise offerings. This year’s event will have several speakers, including Sundar Pichai, Alphabet & Google CEO, and Thomas Kurian, Google Cloud CEO. There will sessions on topics like artificial intelligence (AI) & machine learning (ML), API Management, App Modernisation, Application development, Architecture and migration, Cloud computing, cost management, data analytics, networking, cloud security, and storage.
If you are one of those attendees and partners who have already purchased the passes, Google will update the Next ’20 website in the coming weeks. Google Cloud will register all attendees who were registered for the Next in-person conference to the Digital version at no charge. The company is refunding all paid Next ’20 conference tickets and cancelling all attendees hotel reservations made through the conference website.
Another tech giant Microsoft is also turning its in-person MVP Summit to virtual. The company has sent notifications to attendees and those who registered saying that MVP Summit will be an online-only event and will take place on its original date, i.e., March 16-20. This is the second development in a week’s time in which Microsoft has taken action to protect its employees from growing coronavirus (COVID-19).
It is yet to be seen what action these companies will take when it comes to their flagship conferences of the year. Google and Microsoft have ‘Google I/O’ and ‘Microsoft Build’ events in May. Apple also holds Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in early June, but there is no official information about the cancellation/postponement/virtualisation of these events.
Last week, Facebook cancelled the F8 developers' conference and announced that it will hold local events, videos and live-streamed content. The Game Developers Conference was postponed to ‘sometime later this summer’. Mobile World Congress, popularly known as MWC, was also cancelled last month.