Google Cloud cancels its biggest conference of the year over coronavirus fears

GoogleGoogle Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian at Google Cloud Next 2019.
  • Google Cloud has cancelled its biggest event of the year over coronavirus concerns.
  • Google Cloud Next was set to be held in San Francisco in April.
  • The company said it planned to replace the in-person conference with “streamed keynotes, breakout sessions, interactive learning and digital ‘ask an expert’ sessions with Google teams.”
  • In a statement, Google Cloud said: “The health and well-being of Google Cloud partners, customers, 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, which will still take place from April 6-8.”
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Google Cloud has cancelled its biggest annual conference because of coronavirus concerns.

Google Cloud Next was supposed to take place in San Francisco from April 6 to 8. Last year, the conference had over 30,000 attendees. This year, Google Cloud will instead make its conference digital through “streamed keynotes, breakout sessions, interactive learning and digital ‘ask an expert’ sessions with Google teams.”

“The health and well-being of Google Cloud partners, customers, 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, which will still take place from April 6-8,” a Google Cloud spokesperson said in a statement.

Participants who were registered for the conference will be automatically registered for the digital conference at no charge, and conference tickets will be refunded.

The cancellation highlights how COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, has been causing disruption for major tech companies as it continues to spread across the globe. The outbreak has infected more than 88,000 people and killed more than 2,900, mostly in China. US health officials warned last week that a COVID-19 outbreak in the US is inevitable.

Last week, Google confirmed that an employee who was in the company’s Zurich office tested positive for the coronavirus. It also restricted employee travel to Italy, Iran, Japan, and South Korea. Major tech companies like Amazon, Facebook, and Twitter are also taking similar measures by restricting travel, asking employees to work remotely, and limiting on-site interviews.

Google Cloud’s announcement follows the cancellations of other high-profile conferences this month. Facebook and Workday cancelled their annual conferences. Likewise, Mobile World Congress, the largest trade show for mobile phones, was cancelled, and the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco was also postponed. Over 20,000 people have signed a petition to cancel the South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas, over coronavirus fears.

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