Cloud

Amazon Comprehend adds customized language lists to machine learning tool

Last year Amazon announced Comprehend, a natural language processing tool to help companies extract common words and phrases from a corpus of information. Today, a week ahead of its Re:invent customer conference, Amazon announced an enhancement to Comprehend that allows developers to build lists of specialized words and phrases without machine learning domain knowledge. “Today we are excited to bring new customization features to Comprehend, which allow developers to extend Comprehend to identify natural language terms and classify text which is specialized to their team, business or industry,” Matt Wood, GM for deep learning and AI wrote in a blog post announcing the enhancement. The key aspect of this is that Amazon is handling all of the complexity, allowing developers to add customized...

Google looks to former Oracle exec Thomas Kurian to move cloud business along

Diane Greene announced on Friday that she was stepping down after three years running Google’s cloud business. She will stay on until the first of the year to help her successor, Thomas Kurian in the transition. He left Oracle at the end of September after more than 20 years with the company, and is charged with making Google’s cloud division more enterprise-friendly, a goal that has oddly eluded the company. Greene was brought on board in 2015 to bring some order and enterprise savvy to the company’s cloud business. While she did help move them along that path, and grew the cloud business, it simply hasn’t been enough. There have been rumblings for months that Greene’s time was coming to an end. So the torch is being passed to Kurian, a man who spent over two decades at a company that mig...

How cities can fix tourism hell

A steep and rapid rise in tourism has left behind a wake of economic and environmental damage in cities around the globe. In response, governments have been responding with policies that attempt to limit the number of visitors who come in. We’ve decided to spare you from any more Amazon HQ2 talk and instead focus on why cities should shy away from reactive policies and should instead utilize their growing set of technological capabilities to change how they manage tourists within city lines. Consider this an ongoing discussion about Urban Tech, its intersection with regulation, issues of public service, and other complexities that people have full PHDs on. I’m just a bitter, born-and-bred New Yorker trying to figure out why I’ve been stuck in between subway stops for the last 15 minutes, s...

Propel accelerates with $18M Series B to manage product lifecycle

We hear so much about managing the customer relationship, but companies have to manage the products they sell too. Propel, a Santa Clara startup, is taking a modern cloud approach to the problem, and today it landed an $18 million Series B investment. The round was led by Norwest Venture Partners. Previous investors Cloud Apps Capital Partners, Salesforce Ventures, and Signalfire also participated. Today’s investment brings the total raised to over $28 million. “We are focused on helping companies design and launch products, based on how you go through the life cycle of a product from concept to design to make, model, sell, service where everybody in a company gets involved in product processes at different points in time,” company co-founder and CEO Ray Hein told TechCrunch. Hein says the...

HashiCorp scores $100M investment on $1.9 billion valuation

HashiCorp, the company that has made hay developing open source tools for managing cloud infrastructure, obviously has a pretty hefty commercial business going too. Today the company announced an enormous $100 million round on a Unicorn valuation of $1.9 billion. The round was led by IVP, whose investments include AppDynamics, Slack and Snap. New comer Bessemer Venture Partners joined existing investors GGV Capital, Mayfield, Redpoint Ventures, and True Ventures in the round. Today’s investment brings the total raised to $179 million. The company’s open source tools have been downloaded 45 million times, according to data provided by the company. It has used that open source base to fuel the business (as many have done before). “Because practitioners choose technologies in the cloud era, w...

Google beefs up Firebase platform for the enterprise

Today at the Firebase Summit in Prague, Google announced a number of updates to its Firebase app development platform designed to help it shift from an environment for individuals or small teams into a full-blown enterprise development tool. Google acquired Firebase 4 years ago to help developers connect to key cloud tools like a database or storage via a set of software development kits (SDKs). Over time, it has layered on sophisticated functionality like monitoring to fix performance issues and access to analytics to see how users are engaging with the app, among other things. But the toolkit hasn’t necessarily been geared towards larger organizations until now. “[Today’s announcements] are going to be around a set of features and updates that are catered more towards enterprises and sop...

Microsoft has no problem taking the $10B JEDI cloud contract if it wins

The Pentagon’s $10 billion JEDI cloud contract bidding process has drawn a lot of attention. Earlier this month, Google withdrew, claiming ethical considerations. Amazon’s Jeff Bezos responded in an interview at Wired25 that he thinks that it’s a mistake for big tech companies to turn their back on the U.S. military. Microsoft president Brad Smith agrees. In a blog post today, he made clear that Microsoft intends to be a bidder in government/military contracts, even if some Microsoft employees have a problem with it. While acknowledging the ethical considerations of today’s most advanced technologies like artificial intelligence, and the ways they could be abused, he explicitly stated that Microsoft will continue to work with the government and the military. “First, we believe in the stron...

Jeff Bezos is just fine taking the Pentagon’s $10B JEDI cloud contract

Some tech companies might have a problem taking money from the Department of Defense, but Amazon isn’t one of them, as CEO Jeff Bezos made clear today at the Wired25 conference. Just last week, Google pulled out of the running for the Pentagon’s $10 billion, 10-year JEDI cloud contract, but Bezos suggested that he was happy to take the government’s money. Bezos has been surprisingly quiet about the contract up until now, but his company has certainly attracted plenty of attention from the companies competing for the JEDI deal. Just last week IBM filed a formal protest with the Government Accountability Office claiming that the contract was stacked in favor one vendor. And while it didn’t name it directly, the clear implication was that company was the one owned by Bezos. Last summer Oracle...

Anaplan hits the ground running with strong stock market debut up over 42 percent

You might think that Anaplan CEO, Frank Calderoni would have had a few sleepless nights this week. His company picked a bad week to go public as market instability rocked tech stocks. Still he wasn’t worried, and today the company had by any measure a successful debut with the stock soaring up over 42 percent. As of 4 pm ET, it hit $24.18, up from the IPO price of $17. Not a bad way to launch your company. Stock Chart: Yahoo Finance “I feel good because it really shows the quality of the company, the business model that we have and how we’ve been able to build a growing successful business, and I think it provides us with a tremendous amount of opportunity going forward,” Calderoni told TechCrunch. Calderoni joined the company a couple of years ago, and seemed to emerge from Silicon Valley...

Google’s Apigee officially launches its API monitoring service

It’s been about two years since Google acquired API management service Apigee. Today, the company is announcing new extensions that make it easier to integrate the service with a number of Google Cloud services, as well as the general availability of the company’s API monitoring solution. Apigee API monitoring allows operations teams to get more insight into how their APIs are performing. The idea here is to make it easy for these teams to figure out when there’s an issue and what’s the root cause for it by giving them very granular data. “APIs are now part of how a lot of companies are doing business,” Ed Anuff, Apigee’s former SVP of product strategy and now Google’s product and strategy lead for the service, told me. “So that tees up the need for API monitoring.” Anuff also told me that...

Shujinko brings in $2.8M for its cloud security compliance platform

Shujinko — yes, like the Mortal Kombat character — is emerging from stealth today after raising $2.8 million in seed funding from Unusual Ventures, Defy, Vulcan Capital, PSL Ventures and Vas Ventures. The Seattle-based cloud security compliance platform is rolling out of startup studio Pioneer Square Labs, which itself recently raised $15 million to expand its incubation program. Founded by a former director and a manager of Starbucks’ cloud engineering team, Scott Schwan and Matt Wells, Shujinko automates the auditing process for cloud-based IT businesses with at least 50 million users. Here’s how Schwan explained it to me: “When you pay taxes through an accountant, basically you end up collecting all these receipts, you have all this evidence that you collected over time and you end up h...

What each cloud company could bring to the Pentagon’s $10 B JEDI cloud contract

The Pentagon is going to make one cloud vendor exceedingly happy when it chooses the winner of the $10 billion, ten-year enterprise cloud project dubbed the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (or JEDI for short). The contract is designed to establish the cloud technology strategy for the military over the next 10 years as it begins to take advantage of current trends like Internet of Things, artificial intelligence and big data. Ten billion dollars spread out over ten years may not entirely alter a market that’s expected to reach $100 billion a year very soon, but it is substantial enough give a lesser vendor much greater visibility, and possibly deeper entree into other government and private sector business. The cloud companies certainly recognize that. Photo: Glowimages/Getty Image...

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