Alphabet Is Keeping Google Cloud Exactly The Way It Is

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Blog: Google Cloud Platform won’t be getting any special treatment as Alphabet restructures divisions, but is that going to prove to be a problem?

Almost 48 hours on from Google’s creation of a new parent company called Alphabet, the internet seems to have calmed down somewhat.

So with the dust settling and the future of artificial intelligence and self-driving cars seemingly sealed, let’s take at one of Google’s less visible and slightly less glamorous divisions: cloud.

Trailing

Google Cloud Platform, obviously one of the market leaders when it comes to IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service) platforms, still trails a long way behind rivals Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure, and even IBM to some extent.

google cloudDespite incessant price cuts, which seem to have helped Google Cloud Platform gain significant traction in the past year or so (finding 81 percent year-on-year growth in Q4 2014), Google Cloud’s market share was still at just 5 percent in February of this year, according to Synergy Research.

So will the Alphabet restructuring of Google and its many heads help or hinder the cloud platform?

Status quo

We can be safe in the knowledge that Google Cloud is still in the hands of Google, and was not spun out to form a separate venture.

A Google spokesperson told TechWeekEurope: “I can confirm that this Cloud is still under Google. Nothing else to share on this.”

Well, that’s that then. But why? I see two paths, and I’m not sure which would have been the right one for Google. Giving Google Cloud Platform its own division, and even more investment to innovate could have spelled succes at a time when the platform isn’t really getting a whiff of anything as grand as AWS or Microsoft are envisioning.

AWS this year became a $6 billion company. Google doesn’t disclose its cloud-specific revenues at this time, but with AWS claiming 28 percent of 2014’s IaaS marketshare (Synergy Research) you can bet its earnings are nowhere near that figure.

On the other hand, cloud isn’t innovative, and perhaps it shouldn’t be. The technology has effectively been around for decades and IaaS, no matter how wondrous marketing bods will have you believe, is quite frankly normal. Cloud is now underpinning the processes of almost every business in the world.

And does Google even need to make a show and tell out of its cloud? It has the search, it has the ads, it could soon dominate the self-driving roads and the be the arbiter of the Internet-spewing drone. Maybe cloud just doesn’t matter as much for the company, maybe it’s not the end-game it’s playing for.

TechWeekEurope asked IDC cloud analyst Philip Carnelley what his thoughts were on if Google Cloud Platform will be changing with a new parent company in town.

“In short, my answer is no, I don’t think it’ll make much difference,” said Carnelley. “Google’s Cloud Platform will be part of the main body of the company overseen by Sundar Pichai, pretty much as it was before, and remains under the supervision of Urs Hölzle, Google’s visionary cloud architect.”

Everyone and their dog is doing cloud these days, and it seems Google is happy to continue the cloud role it’s currently fulfilling, whilst its other grand ventures take the limelight. Sundar Pichai is a strong leader, but doesn’t appear to be focusing much of his efforts on cloud. For now, it appears Google Cloud Platform is in safe hands, but hands that won’t be open to evolution or risk anytime soon.

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