Alphabet's Eric Schmidt explains how Google played a key role in Snapchat's success

Eric Schmidt. Photo: Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/ Getty Images

When Snapchat parent company Snap filed for its blockbuster $US33 billion IPO, it was revealed that the young social network had also signed a huge $US400 million-per-year deal with Google for cloud computing services.

On stage at Wednesday’s Google Cloud Next conference in San Francisco, Alphabet chairman Eric Schmidt called Snap “the strongest IPO in tech in a long time,” and explained how Google played a key role in Snapchat’s growth from its early days.

Amid Snapchat’s meteoric rise to fame, Schmidt said, “no one could figure out how they could do this with so little capital.” The answer, Schmidt says, “is that they used our infrastructure.”

Google Cloud offers pay-as-you-go access to fundamentally unlimited supercomputing power. With Google Cloud, Schmidt says, Snapchat was able to quickly grow its services to meet demand, while simultaneously taking advantage of its tremendous worldwide footprint to quickly roll out to users across the globe.

Plus, Schmidt says, Snapchat was able to use Google’s range of cutting-edge technologies to quickly roll out new features, which only reinforced its growth. In his only public interview, Snap cofounder Bobby Murphy shouted out Google as a key to its growth.

“So, are you not planning to be like Snapchat?” Schmidt asked the conference crowd, rhetorically. With Google’s range of services, he says, “you may as well plan for global success and infinite demand.” And even if you’re only going after a smaller, more regional customer base, he says, “dream big.”

Bobby Murphy Snap IPOHollis JohnsonSnapchat cofounder and CTO Bobby Murphy

Schmidt also called out global smartphone smash-hit Pokémon Go, which was made by former Google subsidiary Niantic, and which hosts all of its services in Google Cloud, too. Schmidt credits Google Cloud with letting Pokémon Go launch globally amid tremendous demand.

“I’m quite convinced there was no other way to handle such a global phenomenon,” Schmidt says. In general, Schmidt says his message is simple: “Just get to the cloud now. Just go there now. There’s no time to waste anymore.”

On a final note, however, it’s worth noting that both Snapchat and Pokémon Go had growing pains in their earliest days, with downtime and outages common as they quickly found huge audiences.

Get the latest Snap stock price here.

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