Google has decided to delay even the digital version of its largest conference of the year, the enterprise-focused Cloud Next conference, as the severity of the coronavirus crisis deepens.
The company originally canceled the physical conference, which was set to take place in April in downtown San Francisco’s Moscone Center, at the beginning of this month. It later did the same for its more consumer-facing I/O developer conference. The plan was to host Cloud Next digitally, with Google promising a “free, global, digital-first, multi-day event connecting our attendees to Next ’20 content and each other through streamed keynotes, breakout sessions, interactive learning and digital ‘ask an expert’ sessions with Google teams.”
Now, Google says it will be postponing the event indefinitely “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).” The company says it is “fully committed to bringing Google Cloud Next ‘20: Digital Connect to life, but will hold the event when the timing is right.”
Although the company is not being explicit about the decision, it appears directly related to yesterday’s “shelter in place” order instituted for the San Francisco Bay Area. That means it is likely prohibitively difficult to record and stream live sessions given guidance from local governments and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that has swiftly moved toward extreme social distancing in the last two weeks. On Monday, President Donald Trump also advised citizens to avoid gatherings of 10 or more people as bars, restaurants, and numerous other core functions of social life began closing down in the biggest American cities.