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Google is known for Android, annoying ads and self-driving cars. These are the things people normally associate the tech brand with due to its commanding presence in these respective niches. With a solid foundation that no one can question, the company now wants to take over a space that Amazon is currently dominating: the cloud.

“My goal is for us to talk about Google as a cloud company in 2020 because our revenue is bigger than ads revenue is,” said Urs Holzle, the group’s senior vice president of infrastructure, at the Structure 2015 conference in San Francisco. “I think clouds will actually turn out to be a huge business because it’s ultimately a services business.”


Why the Cloud?

At the moment, Google sits comfortably at fourth place in the cloud race. Microsoft and International Business Machines (IBM) entered the sector early and were able to claim the second and third position in the rankings. As mentioned earlier, Amazon is the company to beat, with Amazon Web Services sales estimated to make $7 billion this year, which is larger than all three of its competitors combined. By 2020, that figure is expected to reach as high as $50 billion. Andy Jassle, AWS chief, predicts that the group’s cloud division will likely overtake its e-commerce services in the future. As you can see, there’s a lot of money to be made in the cloud business.

Many believe that Google could’ve easily taken the top spot if it had recognized the opportunity to enter the market before Amazon. The brand certainly had the resources to do so, but for some reason it didn’t make the jump. Growing its cloud arm this late in the game will take some serious funds, effort and aggressive marketing. To get things going, the company hired Diane Greene, one of the founders of VMware, to run its cloud projects, including Google for Work, Cloud Platform and Google Apps. “I compare cloud 2015 to phones in 2007,” said Holzle. “If you look at the next five years of evolution it was much bigger than the previous five years.”


Replacing Google Ads?

Google ultimately secured its position in the tech world through Internet advertising. The company forced website developers to align their practices with Google Search. That was almost two decades ago, and while online ads continue to fund the group’s moonshot projects, the establishment realized that it can’t rely on ads forever. The next move is to make use of what it already has, which is massive data computing capabilities from powering YouTube and Gmail. Such components, coupled with the tech community’s open views on the group’s products, could secure its rise to the clouds so to speak.

“Google has an edge among certain developers, who trust it more than Microsoft. Google has historically embraced the open-source philosophy and released a lot of technology that it’s built to the world. Although Nadella’s Microsoft is friendlier than ever, some pockets of developers still don’t trust Microsoft — and probably never will,” wrote Matt Weinberger from Business Insider.

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