In a bid to compete with rivals Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure, Google plans to add 12 new cloud-focused data centre’s in the next year and a half, according to a Bloomberg report.
That should help. But what does it mean for consumers?
Google is lagging behind its two main rivals in the Cloud space, and it has to do more than add capacity to its cloud to challenge the market share lead of both Amazon and Microsoft in public cloud. Amazon has held the market for games companies, however Google is making inroads with companies like Back Flip, Rovio and PocketsGems Studio believing that Googles automation is better.
Microsoft has of course, been doing the cloud computing thing for decades: when they bought Hotmail in 1997 no-one knew what cloud computing was. Its Azure platform powers many big businesses, and who doesn’t know Xbox Live?
Microsoft offers a range of cloud-connected Office services including the free Office Web Apps and the subscription-based Office 365. Their ‘SkyDrive’ – now called OneDrive after legal action from Sky, is rather similar to Google Drive – in that you can use it to share and synchronise files between different devices, and create your documents, workbooks and more all inside your browser.
In an aggressive move, Microsoft dramatically increased the OneDrive storage from 7GB to 15GB for free users and offered unlimited storage to Office 365 subscribers, but a handful of users were apparently using up to 75 TB (yes you read that right) and so the limits have been cut again. The free tier is being downgraded to 5GB for new users (still 15GB for existing ones), the maximum limit for paid subscribers is back down to 1TB and the 100GB and 200GB plans have been removed.
As a consumer – you would be wise to be wary of relying too much on a Cloud service whose capabilities can be revised so dramatically by the provider. And that’s an opportunity for Google and Amazon. However – Microsoft does ‘rule the world’. Remember in the 90’s when people were wondering whether to use WordPerfect, Lotus Smartsuite or MS Office. Well – there’s not so much wondering anymore, and so there is no underestimating the power of Microsoft.
However, as number 3 in the market, Google can afford to take more risks and innovate in a way that the market leaders may not. And of course, Google has one major advantage over it’s 2 main rivals.
The key to successful online (or offline) advertising is accurate and plentiful data and the ability to analyse that data. If you know exactly who is looking for a product and exactly what they are looking for you can design your widget (or in this case Cloud Services) to match what the customer wants.
Without a doubt – Google is master of data and analytics, and once they have their capacity issues sorted, it will be interesting to see what their offering evolves into.
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