SAN FRANCISCO — A massive cloud has descended upon the city by the bay. And no, we're not talking about Karl the Fog

The time has come once more for the over-the-top Dreamforce conference, which gathers Salesforce customers, developers, partners and more in the CRM giant's hometown.

The annual gala, which kicks off today and runs through Oct. 7, will take over a small chunk of San Francisco, with the Moscone Center and numerous downtown hotels hosting events for the 171,000 registered attendees.

As one of the main purveyors of cloud services, Salesforce uses the annual event to build awareness of its offerings and to announce new products. The company gave itself a head start this year with a number of pre-conference announcements to warm up the crowds.

Dive Into Machine Learning with Einstein

Einstein, the new Artificial Intelligence initiative, is sure to play a starring role at Dreamforce this year. The company revealed Einstein on the eve of Oracle's OpenWorld conference, offering a few details into how it will "forever change" customer relationship management, but without diving deep into its capabilities.

During a recent preview media event, a Salesforce spokesperson said that “Einstein-powered fields” will enable developers to build AI-powered apps for the company’s platform. Expect to hear more about Einstein’s capabilities and how it will support employees who do the bulk of their work in the Salesforce cloud.

Getting Productive with Quip

Salesforce has also been playing up its plans for the recent Quip acquisition. The app can be described as a more elegant and mobile-friendly version of Google Docs that’s designed for teams to collaborate on in real-time from any type of device.

A new feature released today gives users the ability to move right into their Quip accounts with their Salesforce ID and to embed live CRM data within documents while retaining the connection to the Salesforce record. This means any changes made to data in Salesforce will reflect in the document automatically.

Expect to see a deeper integration with Quip in all of Salesforce, as the company tries to convince its customers to move their productivity away from the likes of Microsoft and Google.

A Bolt of Lightning

Finally, the Lightning Bolt framework will also crop up in many presentations at Dreamforce. Lightning Bolt is targeted at developers who want to build applications to work within the Salesforce world. By making easier to use tools and providing support, Salesforce can ensure that it remains an attractive place for enterprise applications.

This is just a small taste of what we can expect from a conference this size. Today's Quip announcement is just the tip of the iceberg as attendees get settled in, and explore the sprawling Dreamforce campus. CEO Marc Benioff takes the stage tomorrow, with many other fireside chats and roundtables in-between.