During Google I/O, the company’s annual developers conference, the company announced a bunch of new features for its cloud computing services.
Google has been in a three-way price-and-feature war with Amazon and Microsoft over the cloud. Every time one of them adds features and lowers prices, the others follow suit.
Google always mentions its flagship cloud customer, Snapchat, and this time was no exception. But this time around, Google’s top cloud guy, Urs Hözle, also name-dropped several other big names that chose Google over Amazon, including hot anonymous app Secret; the company that does instant voting for The Rising Star TV show, Screens; and online tech school Khan Academy.
Most of the new features it introduced were pretty geeky — this is a developer’s conference, after all. But one of them really stood out: “Google Cloud Dataflow.” This is a “big data” service, meaning it can crunch through massive volumes of information really fast.
But the service is interesting because Google is calling it a successor to a technology it invented a decade ago called “MapReduce.”
MapReduce helped Google scan and understand the Internet in the first place. MapReduce became the heart of a hugely popular big data tech company called Hadoop, which has taken the enterprise by storm by allowing companies to build their own big data applications using low-cost hardware. It’s also led to some hot startups like Cloudera.
But these days all the cloud providers are duking it out over big data. So with DataFlow, Google is claiming that it’s new service one-ups MapReduce.
“I hope you understand why we stopped using MapReduce years ago,” Hözle said. Those are fighting words in the big data cloud world.
As for other new features, these include one that helps developers fix performance problems with their apps and another one that will help developers sync user data across all kinds of devices (type it in your smartphone and it shows up on your smartwatch.)