A few weeks ago, we announced the new homepage for Google Cloud, redesigned for simplicity, performance, and navigation. Today, we’d like to share a deeper insight into Quick Access, a new feature of Active Assist that powers this new streamlined homepage experience.

Quick Access introduces intelligent shortcuts that reduce the average time it takes you to navigate from the homepage to your desired destination/task by up to 43%. It helps eliminate the need to search or browse for the specific page within Google Cloud you’re looking to get to. Quick Access uses machine learning to predict the destinations you will most likely want to navigate to based on an understanding of your Google Cloud console activity, and common cloud workflows. It is personalized for Google Cloud users who have personalization turned on.

 

Reducing complexity one feature at a time: Active Assist expands to the console

Active Assist is a part of Google Cloud’s AIOps solution that uses data, intelligence, and machine learning to reduce complexity, optimize, and automate away the overhead of managing your cloud environment. Over the past few years, we have been helping you tackle various aspects of cloud complexity like securing your cloud resources, firewall configuration, managing idle resources, optimizing Cloud SQL and optimizing BigQuery for cost and performance, just to name a few examples. Today, we’re excited to introduce Quick Access, our first personalized experience powered by Active Assist:

 

In the context of Google Cloud, we see a couple trends that contribute to a continued increase in complexity. Development velocity and complexity of a typical enterprise environment have grown significantly, where engineering organizations need to regularly work across a large number of interconnected projects and sub-systems. Google Cloud has also added a number of new products and features to enable and support a wide range of workloads and use cases that our diverse customer base requires. The growth in Google Cloud creates a platform of nearly one hundred different product pages and thousands of corresponding sub-pages in the Google Cloud console.

As a result, cloud users face difficulty navigating the Google Cloud console. Our research indicates the majority of users only visit a few pages per day while spending a considerable amount of time searching for their desired destinations. Quick Access aims to solve this challenge by surfacing your most relevant destinations on the homepage.

Behind the scenes: how Quick Access works?

At a high-level, Quick Access is powered by a machine learning model that calculates the probability of you navigating to a certain page based on Google Cloud usage – aiming to predict which pages you’d want to go to next.

The idea of intelligent navigation shortcuts is not new. For example, the Google Drive team introduced a similar concept in 2017. We are now applying this concept to Cloud Console, a different domain with its unique definition of what a “destination” is (e.g. Google Drive files vs. Google Cloud product pages), constraints, and other challenges such as making Quick Access suggestions aware of the common cloud usage/workflow patterns.

An example cloud workflow based on insight into activity across all users

 

For those of you who have personalization turned on, Quick Access infers intelligent navigation suggestions based on the following Cloud Console usage data:

  • Your recently visited pages in Google Cloud
  • Anonymized workflow patterns for all users who also have personalization turned on

Built with privacy and security in mind

As with any Google product, privacy and security are baked into the design of the Quick Access feature. The data we use to train the underlying machine learning model doesn’t contain any personally identifiable information (PII), and is based on anonymized Cloud Console usage/workflow patterns only. For example, we will register the fact that you landed on a Compute Engine VM creation page, and then accessed a firewall management page, after scrapping your VM names or firewall configuration.

You are always in control of what you share with Google and can choose to opt out of personalization at any time by toggling off the appropriate controls for your organization under Google Cloud personalization and Web & App Activity settings.

Please note that if you choose to opt out of personalization, you will still see Quick Access as a part of your homepage experience. However, instead of having ML personalized suggestions, Quick Access will be based on a set of simple rules, potentially making it less relevant to your environment.

Try it today, let us know your thoughts!

With the firm belief that small things add up, we hope that you’ll find Quick Access to be a helpful tool for you to get to your intended destinations on Google Cloud in almost half the time, so that you can go home a bit earlier each day 😊. Please feel free to reach us at [email protected] – we can’t wait to hear your feedback and thoughts about this feature and other ways we can help bring you the information you’re looking for!

 

 

By: Dima Melnyk (Product Manager, Active Assist) and Lillian Kravitz (Product Manager, Cloud Console)
Source: Google Cloud Blog

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