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Google Cloud Natural Language API launches new features and Cloud Spanner graduating to GA

May 4, 2017
Apoorv Saxena and Dominic Preuss

Product Managers

Today at Google Cloud Next London we're excited to announce product news that will help customers innovate and transform their businesses faster via the cloud: first, that Google Cloud Natural Language API is adding support for new languages and entity sentiment analysis, and second, that Google Cloud Spanner is graduating to general availability (GA).

Cloud Natural Language API beta

Since we launched Cloud Natural Language API, a fully managed service for extracting meaning from text via machine learning, we’ve seen customers such as Evernote and Ocado enhance their businesses in fascinating ways. For example, they use Cloud Natural Language API to analyze customer feedback and sentiment, extract key entities and metadata from unstructured text such as emails or web articles, and enable novel features (such as deriving action items from meeting notes).

These use cases, among many others, highlighted the need to expand language support and add improvements in the quality of our base NLU technology. We've incorporated this feedback into the product and are pleased to announce the following new capabilities under beta:

  • Expanded language support for entity, document sentiment and syntax analysis for the following languages: Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), French, German, Italian, Korean and Portuguese. This is in addition to existing support for English, Spanish and Japanese.
  • Understand sentiment for specific entities and not just whole document or sentence: We're introducing a new method that identifies entities in a block of text and also determines sentiment for those entities. Entity sentiment analysis is currently only available for the English language. For more information, see Analyzing Entity Sentiment.
  • Improved quality for sentiment and entity analysis: As part of the continuous effort to improve quality of our base models, we're also launching improved models for sentiment and entity analysis as part of this release.

Early access users of this new functionality such as Wootric are already using the expanded language support and new entity sentiment analysis feature to better understand customer sentiment around brands and products. For example, for customer feedback such as “the phone is expensive but has great battery life,” users can now parse that the sentiment for phone is negative while the sentiment for battery life is positive.

As the API becomes more widely adopted, we're looking forward to seeing more interesting and useful applications of it.

Cloud Spanner enters GA

Announced in March at Google Cloud Next ‘17, Cloud Spanner is the world’s first fully managed, horizontally scalable relational database service for mission-critical online transaction processing (OLTP) applications. Cloud Spanner is specifically designed to meet customer requirements in this area for strong consistency, high availability and global scale —

qualities that make it unique as a service.

During the beta period, we were thrilled to see customers unlock new use cases in the cloud with Cloud Spanner, including:

  • Powering mission-critical applications like customer authentication and provisioning for multi-national businesses
  • Building consistent systems for business transactions and inventory management in the financials services and retail industries
  • Supporting incredibly high-volume systems that need low-latency and high-throughput in the advertising and media industries

As with all our other services, GCP handles all the performance, scalability and availability needs automatically in a pay-as-you-go way.

On May 16, Cloud Spanner will reach a further milestone by becoming generally available for the first time. Currently we're offering regional instances, with multi-regional instances coming later this year. We've been Spanner users ourselves for more than five years to support a variety of mission-critical global apps, and we can’t wait to see what new workloads you bring to the cloud, and which new ones you build next!

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