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Today Google finally told the world its real strategy for competing with public cloud market leader Amazon Web Services (AWS). Google first launched the Google Compute Engine infrastructure as a service (IaaS) in 2012, but it has always been in the shadows of AWS. Google tried using major price cuts in order to gain ground in the market, but that has only brought them so far. The new strategy is putting its cloud data centers in more places around the world.

That will result in applications getting data on end users’ devices faster. And companies will be able to meet legal standards about keeping their data in their own countries.

Google isn’t setting up just one or two data center regions globally, each with multiple data centers — it’s opening 12. The first two are in Oregon — where Google first built a data center from the ground up — and Japan, according to a blog post today.

“With these new regions, even more applications become candidates to run on Cloud Platform, and get the benefits of Google-level scale and industry leading price/performance,” Google product manager Varun Sakalkar wrote in the blog post.

AWS as of today has 12 regions, although it’s opening more of them.

Of course, geographical expansion isn’t the most novel way to grow a cloud. IBM in 2014 announced plans to open 15 new data centers globally. But IBM is perceived to be trailing behind AWS, Microsoft Azure, and the Google Cloud Platform.

At the helm of Google’s cloud is Diane Greene, former chief executive of VMware and an enterprise technology veteran. Greene is already exerting pressure on Google’s sales force, according to a report today from Bloomberg. Setting aside the upcoming data center regions, Greene’s push from the top can’t be ignored when you think about how Google is currently trying to take on 10-year-old AWS. In the long term, it could very well make a difference.


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