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By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

Is Google playing catch up in the cloud?

The New York Times had an interesting article over the weekend about Google and how it finds itself in the unusual position of playing from behind in the cloud space with Amazon and Microsoft in the lead.

Amazon Web Services, in particular, is in the lead, but that isn’t much of surprise to anyone. Microsoft is claiming revenue from Azure rose by 100 percent last year.

The article by Quentin Hardy has several interesting tidbits. For example, the global cloud-computing business will be worth $67 billion by 2020, compared to $23 billion today. He cites Gartner but that is an incredible growth trajectory.

A sure sign that the cloud hasn’t become a major business offering for Google is that the company doesn’t report revenue for the Google Cloud Platform business in its earnings, according to Hardy.

But what caught my eye was the moves Hardy reports Google is making include the use of artificial intelligence to cut power use by its data centers. This could be a compelling sales pitch for Google. The techniques for finding power savings also could be attractive to other large energy users such as refineries and other manufacturers.

Google also is making advances in the use of voice recognition to the point of being able to determine things such as meaning and emotions of the person speaking.

A third thing – though a little creepy – is that one analyst is predicting that Google could offer businesses insights gleaned from the company’s years of watching people online as part of their cloud offerings.

Here is the big difference between Google and Amazon:

“Amazon views the customer as the person paying the bill, while Google believes the customer is the end user of a service,” Hardy quoted John Lovelock as saying. Lovelock is a Gartner cloud analyst.

Microsoft has a third approach. With Office 360, Microsoft is offering products that are well known and widely used.

How all of this plays out in the government market is anyone’s guess. Amazon is the established leader. Microsoft has the familiar products. Google’s play might be as the upstart with the next generation cloud offering, particularly as we move from big data analytics to the artificial intelligence.

Surely, the government market is big enough for three or more approaches to the cloud.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Jul 25, 2016 at 12:33 PM

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