Google Amazon Dust Up. Search and More

October 12, 2011

I have done a few confidential reports about the Amazon Google waltz. For about five years, Amazon has out Googled Google. I noticed the shift when I was working on Google Version 2.0 in early 2006. Amazon was implementing as real commercial services some of the technology which Googlers revealed in their technical talks, some journal papers, and in the mostly ignored “background” sections of Google’s patent documents.

In a Vienna waltz, one dancer leads and the other follows. The roles can shift, but mostly there is one dancer who commands, and the other follows. Consider these steps:

  • Cloud services at a low cost for consumers and the enterprise. Check.
  • Nifty catalog services with automated data acquisition. Check.
  • Street view in search. Check.
  • De-emphasis on brute force search. Check.

I cannot provide more meaty examples because this is a free blog. But I think you get the idea.

I noted that Amazon put up an Android store of sorts. Then I noted that the Amazon Fire “ran” on Android. Many pundits and poobahs have and continue to speculate if Amazon is going at Apple. A fresh idea for some appeared in “Google Guns for Amazon Web Services with New Storage, App Engine Offerings.” The write up said:

Google is turning up the heat with its cloud services for the enterprise. Today the company bundled up several announcements ranging from the Cloud SQL service in limited preview to promoting Cloud Storage out of Google Labs. App Engine developers are also getting a premier support option with a 99.95 Service Level Agreement (SLA).

I also marked this passage”:

Google is obviously putting a lot of wood behind its App Engine arrows. The question is whether it’s enough to compete with Amazon Web Services (AWS). Google’s argument is that it offers managed services and takes a lot of hassles out of building and deploying cloud services. The downside is that applications written for GAE are going to be a lot harder to port to competing services.

The gloves are indeed off. My thought is that Google now has another challenge on its hand. Unlike the spats with Microsoft, Oracle, and various other parties to litigation, Amazon just keeps doing Googley stuff quickly. Not much fanfare from Amazon, in fact. Several observations:

  1. Amazon has an Android store and an Android fork. Amazon is more of a curator than Google. Could this be a key differentiator for Amazon? The use of forked Android adds some zest to the routine.
  2. Amazon does have customers for its Web services, and it works on a number of levels with these customers. Amazon may have a more sophisticated method of leveraging its customer relationships than Google at this time. Is this another key differentiator.
  3. Amazon has been following the steps. Amazon lacks some of the athleticism of its “partner”, but precision of execution can overcome athleticism. Is this another key differentiator for Amazon.

But the big point is that Amazon seems to be doing with somewhat less friction than its partner. Amazon seems smoother. Now to the judges…Len?

Stephen E Arnold, October 12, 2011



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