Google Cloud: A Fog Bank Persists

April 26, 2020

Protocol  published “Google’s Thomas Kurian on COVID-19, Customers in Crisis and the Big Cloud Fight.”

Let’s look at one slice of this interview with Google’s stratocumulus of cloud computing. One interesting question and Thomas Kurian’s answer is:

Google has a reputation for closing down services that it believes aren’t being used in sufficient numbers. Among people I talk to, that sometimes raises a red flag when it comes to working with Google. As you work with these new customers who are in really, really severe difficulty right now, what kind of assurances are you giving them that, as they bet on these services from you, you’ll be there over the long haul?

Our cloud services are offered under a standard support agreement. For cloud services publicly, for example, all the GCP services are exactly the same as those from our competitors. So we give them assurances that we won’t deprecate a service without the proper notice period, and the notice periods are exactly the same as competitors.

DarkCyber noticed the word support in the write up five times in the 1900 word write up.

One wisp of condensed information wafted through the write up: “Google has struggled to win the trust of the enterprise buyer.” Why? Perhaps the list of discontinued services displayed on the Killed by Google Web site explains the challenge. With little or no warning, with little or no explanation, and with little or no interest in the users and “customers” relying on these services—more than 190 products and services have been disappeared. To make Google’s “strategy” more clear, Google Hangouts which was marked for death is now trying to be like Zoom.

The article is a showcase for Google to make clear that it really, really is committed to delivering commercial grade cloud services. Google was committed to Google Plus as well as the other 190 plus products and services dismissed with a Googley insouciance.

The write up is crafted to make clear that Google is an enterprise class service provider. The company made that pitch to the US Department of Defense, only to pull out of Project Maven because employees were not happy with the application of a Google technology to a US government need. And there are other examples of the words of the Google not matching the actions of the Google. One example: Search services for China. Yep, waffling.

What’s the challenge for the online advertising company? One clue is that according to the write up, Google’s cloud revenues for the fourth quarter of 2019-2020 was $2.9 billion. Compare that to Amazon AWS revenue of $9.9 billion. Google likes data. Well, that gap is a data point.

Is the Google Cloud going to approach the enterprise with the track record of Microsoft and its partners or the go-go roar of the Bezos bulldozer?

Google has the vocabulary for the task. The Googler uses two interesting words in his clarification of the Google approach. These words are re-pivot and re-platform. Those terms remind me that Google re-placed Diane Greene, the previous stratocumulus of cloud computing.

Did the interview convince DarkCyber that Google will stick with cloud computing? Sort of. You know like the fog comes in on little cat feet. It sits looking over harbor and city on silent haunches and then moves on.

Stephen E Arnold, April 26, 2020


One Response to “Google Cloud: A Fog Bank Persists”

  1. Aaron on April 26th, 2020 1:20 pm

    One of the reasons Google is terrible in the Enterprise space is the engineering organization. Enterprises require, need, and demand stability, which comes from years of domain experience from bread-and-butter engineers. Hiring engineers based on how well they can answer some random algorithmic question during interviews is not conducive to enterprise-level functionality.

    What they miss out by doing so is the years of experience a seasoned enterprise engineer has accumulated, in terms of correctness, stability, performance and scale.

    Sure, engineers are still lining up at Google’s doors wanting to be hired, so Google can afford to be picky about its hires and can tolerate false negatives. But their policies from years past are a reason they don’t do well in the enterprise space, and will continue to fail. They need to realize the diversity in skill-set required for different kinds of work.

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