Google's new cloud boss says that Amazon doesn't have to lose for them to win

Diane GreeneGoogle’s Diane GreeneGoogle’s Diane Greene

Star Google exec Diane Greene says that it’s not winner-take-all as the company races to overtake the leading $7 billion Amazon Web Services cloud computing juggernaut.

“One very pleasant, slightly a surprise [sic], is how much the Fortune 1000 wants to have a Google approach to the cloud,” Greene says at this week’s Google I/O developer conference. “They want to have two cloud vendors.”

A quick reality check bears Greene out: Companies like Apple and Spotify made headlines when it came out that they were moving huge chunks of their technology from Amazon Web Services to Google Cloud Platform — but by all reports, Amazon’s cloud still hosts significant chunks of their data in both cases.

Cloud computing is the business model where titans like Google, Microsoft, and Amazon rent out huge chunks of their data center infrastructure to outside companies. Punch in a credit card number, and get access to fundamentally unlimited supercomputing power.

Generally, people think of Google as a distant third-place player, of big interest to small startups, but lagging in selling to the lucrative enterprise market. But in the seven short months since Greene took over leadership of Google’s cloud computing business, the search giant has seriously accelerated its push to win over big businesses and large enterprises.

Indeed, Google thinks that the cloud could make it more money than ads by 2020. In order to achieve that, Greene has been meeting with “so many” customers and partners, she said, and building out Google’s customer outreach.

It’s paying off. Greene recounted some meetings with top, Fortune 50-level customers in the last few weeks, where they were already basically sold on the Google Cloud Platform.

“I did not have to do any convincing, it was just a matter of selecting the areas we should go forward on.”

And so, the game now isn’t to go toe-to-toe to Amazon, but rather to highlight the stuff that Google is good at. That includes security, reliability, and readiness to build the next generation of apps powered by artificial intelligence. Not every cloud is right for every job, and Google is willing to get a toe-hold wherever it can.

“We’re quite enterprise-ready and people are seeing it, and seeing our strengths,” Greene says.

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