October 10–11, 2016  •  San Francisco, CA
Urs Hölzle

Urs Hölzle
Senior Vice President for Technical Infrastructure, Google

There are many who fear that AI will take away human jobs. I believe that it will be a key component in the infrastructure of prosperity in the 21st century, allowing us to tackle some of our hardest problems—climate change, disease, and inequality—while creating services and products that are unimaginable today. Google’s recent use of DeepMind to cut energy usage in its data centers is just the barest taste of what is possible. Urs Hölzle has been at the forefront of building 21st-century infrastructure since Google’s inception. Who better to talk with us about how technology will shape our future?

— Tim O’Reilly

Quotes from Urs

If your Gmail gets compromised, you’re going to get very nervous and upset about that, even if you never paid for Gmail. It’s no longer true that consumer[s are] not compliance-oriented and enterprise is.

Things change, and I think in the next five years there’s at least the chance that technology will change much more meaningfully than [it has] in the past five years.

It has become clear that the public cloud is the way of the future. One day, this could be bigger than ads. Certainly, in terms of market potential, it is.

The goal is for us to talk about Google as a cloud company by 2020.


Urs Hölzle oversees the design and operation of the servers, networks, and data centers that power Google’s services, as well as the development of the software infrastructure used by Google’s applications. Lately, he’s spending his time helping to build and define Google Cloud Platform, Google’s public cloud offering, which makes the infrastructure work his team pioneered for Google available to developers and enterprises around the world. Urs joined Google as its first vice president of engineering after having been an associate professor of computer science at the University of California, Santa Barbara. In a previous life, he contributed to the efficient implementation of virtual machines for programming languages such as Java. With a good search engine, you can find out much more about him.