- Business Insider
If there’s one question that the top brass at Google are sick of being asked, it’s this: How are you going to catch up in the cloud market to Amazon and Microsoft?
Google’s answer is pretty straightforward: the old-fashioned way. It plans to build out its tech, making it reliable and affordable with just enough differentiation to attract customers.
And when it lands those big customers, it will show them off as references. If Google builds it, they will come.
That’s what day one of Google’s two-day conference for cloud customers this week was all about. Instead of announcing a bunch of new products (that is set up for day two), the company’s cloud chief, Diane Greene, used the three-hour keynote to showcase marquee customers. Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Alphabet chairman Eric Schmidt took the stage as well, in a show of support and commitment from the top of the company.
Proud $2 billion home of Snap
In fact, Schmidt’s pitch to the 10,000-person crowd was pretty simple: “Just get to the cloud now. Just go there now. There’s no time to waste anymore.”
His rationale was equally simple: “We put $30 billion into this platform. I know this because I approved it,” he only half joked. “Why replicate that?”
He even went so far as credit Google’s cloud as one key ingredient in the success of the fast-growing mobile app Snapchat. Snapchat’s parent company, Snap, just went public in a blockbuster initial public offering that valued the young company at $33 billion (though the stock has since sunk a bit, valuing it at a mere $24 billion on Wednesday).
How could Snap have made such an incredibly fast rise to the top “with so little capital?” Schmidt said. “They used our infrastructure,” he added.
- Business Insider
Snap also just committed to spend $2 billion with Google over the next five years, “a deal hugely successful for both of us” because Snap won’t own a $2 billion data center nor have to pay “$3 billion and $4 billion” for data centers, he said. (There is, however, some reason to believe that Snap is at least investigating building its own data centers, because there comes a point at which it is cheaper to own than to rent.)
Big, respectable customers
Greene also showcased the new cloud customers HSBC, Colgate, Verizon, and eBay.
She also announced Google’s first all-in customer, a large unit of Disney, which she said was doing “a full lift and shift to Google Cloud,” meaning it’s moving all of its consumer products and interactive media to the cloud. This Disney unit has “500 projects in the cloud” from consumer apps and games to back-office things like its development environment.
- Business Insider
On top of these new customers, Google Cloud announced a new partnership with SAP to bring SAP’s enterprise applications to Google’s cloud, starting with its database HANA. SAP on Google could be a major carrot to persuade other enterprises to move their SAP apps to Google’s cloud.
Google is also targeting would-be Oracle customers more directly. Last week it released a new database called Cloud Spanner that Schmidt called “a work of art in computer science sense,” adding: “It’s a way of doing SQL, a database, at a scale that’s never been seen before. We use it, it’s how Google works, and we released it a week ago for the cloud.”
Google also announced new partners, Pivotal and Rackspace, to provide customer support and custom apps. Rackspace was a big one. It used to compete with Amazon in the cloud, and then it became a support partner for Microsoft Azure and later offered support for Amazon, too.
In the long run, Google is setting itself up to be a good cloud platform choice for big data and machine-learning apps, which is one of the big waves of the future.
Still, none of this will scare Amazon. Its execs continually and rightfully point out that Amazon is years ahead of its competitors. Amazon Web Services has more features and more partners and claims millions of monthly customers, including dozens of “all-in” enterprises. At its customer conference last fall, half of its more than 600 technical sessions were even taught by customers, Silicon Angle’s John Furrier reports. Even Snap, Google’s sexy cloud customer, has also recently signed a deal to use Amazon for some of its infrastructure.
Amazon is still setting the tone for the entire cloud computing infrastructure market and has already won today’s enterprise.
But that doesn’t mean there’s no place for Google, especially if Google is playing the long game (which it says it’s doing). In the 16 months since Greene joined Google, she’s definitely showing progress.