Google has shared its cloud revenue exactly once over the last several years. Silence tends to lead to speculation to fill the information vacuum. Luckily there are some analyst firms who try to fill the void, and it looks like Google’s cloud business is actually trending in the right direction, even if they aren’t willing […]
Google has shared its cloud revenue exactly once over the last several years. Silence tends to lead to speculation to fill the information vacuum. Luckily there are some analyst firms who try to fill the void, and it looks like Google’s cloud business is actually trending in the right direction, even if they aren’t willing to tell us an exact number.
When Google last reported its cloud revenue, last year about this time, they indicated they had earned $1 billion in revenue for the quarter, which included Google Cloud Platform and G Suite combined. Diane Greene, who was head of Google Cloud at the time, called it an “elite business.” but in reality it was pretty small potatoes compared to Microsoft’s and Amazon’s cloud numbers, which were pulling in $4-$5 billion a quarter between them at the time. Google was looking at a $4 billion run rate for the entire year.
Google apparently didn’t like the reaction it got from that disclosure so it stopped talking about cloud revenue. Yesterday when Google’s parent company, Alphabet, issued its quarterly earnings report, to nobody’s surprise, it failed to report cloud revenue yet again, at least not directly.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai gave some hints, but never revealed an exact number. Instead he talked in vague terms calling Google Cloud “a fast-growing multibillion-dollar business.” The only time he came close to talking about actual revenue was when he said, “Last year, we more than doubled both the number of Google Cloud Platform deals over $1 million as well as the number of multiyear contracts signed. We also ended the year with another milestone, passing 5 million paying customers for our cloud collaboration and productivity solution, G Suite.”
OK, it’s not an actual dollar figure, but it’s a sense that the company is actually moving the needle in the cloud business. A bit later in the call, CFO Ruth Porat threw in this cloud revenue nugget. “We are also seeing a really nice uptick in the number of deals that are greater than $100 million and really pleased with the success and penetration there. At this point, not updating further.” She is not updating further. Got it.
That brings us to a company that guessed for us, Canalys. While the firm didn’t share its methodology, it did come up with a figure of $2.2 billion for the quarter. Given that the company is closing larger deals and was at a billion last year, this figure feels like it’s probably in the right ballpark, but of course it’s not from the horse’s mouth, so we can’t know for certain.
Frankly, I’m a little baffled why Alphabet’s shareholders actually let the company get away with this complete lack of transparency. It seems like people would want to know exactly what they are making on that crucial part of the business, wouldn’t you? As a cloud market watcher, I know I would. So we’re left to companies like Canalys to fill in the blanks, but it’s certainly not as satisfying as Google actually telling us. Maybe next quarter.
Google today announced the launch of four new certifications and training programs for cloud developers and engineers: Professional Cloud Developer, Professional Cloud Network Engineer (beta) and Professional Cloud Security Engineer (beta), as well as a new G Suite certification. The G Suite certification stands out a bit because its cheaper ($75) and far less technical than its […]
The G Suite certification stands out a bit because its cheaper ($75) and far less technical than its counterparts in today’s release, but as Google notes, the overall idea here to address the ‘cloud skills crisis.’ The reason for the G Suite course, Google says, is that the “key to a successful cloud transformation is developing skills throughout the organization.” To ensure this, the G Suite exam tests your knowledge in key features of Gmail, Docs, Sheets, Drive and other G Suite tools. If you’re highly technical, that may seem unnecessary, but for many, making the move from Office to G Suite is surely quite a challenge.
The other exams, like the Cloud Developer certifications, test your ability to design, build, test, manage and secure applications on the Google Cloud Platform . They tend to cost around $200 and come in the form of multiple choice exams. To prepare for them, you can study with the help of both on-demand and instructor-led courses from Coursera and other Google partners.
Google notes that IT managers have a hard time finding candidates with the right skills, so it’s trying to address this with these new certification programs and the accompanying training tools.
Google’s strategy around its consumer messaging services remains baffling, especially since it killed off Allo (yet kept Duo on life support). Today, the company clarified the timeline of the transition from classic Hangouts to Chat and Meet for its paying G Suite customers. For them, the Hangouts retirement party will start in October of this […]
Google’s strategy around its consumer messaging services remains baffling, especially since it killed off Allo (yet kept Duo on life support). Today, the company clarified the timeline of the transition from classic Hangouts to Chat and Meet for its paying G Suite customers. For them, the Hangouts retirement party will start in October of this year.
For consumers, the situation remains unclear, but Google says there will be free versions of Chat and Meet that will become available “following the transition of G Suite customers.” As of now, there is no timeline, so for all we know, Hangouts will remain up and running into 2020.
As for G Suite users, Google says it will start bringing more features from classic Hangouts to Chat between April and September. Those include integration with Gmail, the ability to talk to external users, improved video calling and making calls with Google Voice.
Google originally started migrating Hangouts users to the Meet video conferencing service last year. The story there was pretty straightforward, though, given that Meet was a new service with new functionality. For Hangouts, the story is far more complicated, and Hangouts Chat isn’t currently available to consumers. They do have the choice between dozens of other messaging apps, though, and all of this confusion is likely to cost Google quite a few users.
Google today announced that it is raising the price of its G Suite subscriptions for the first time. In the U.S., the prices of G Suite Basic and G Suite Business editions will increase by $1 and $2 per user/month, respectively, while increases in other regions will be adjusted according to the local currency and […]
Google today announced that it is raising the price of its G Suite subscriptions for the first time. In the U.S., the prices of G Suite Basic and G Suite Business editions will increase by $1 and $2 per user/month, respectively, while increases in other regions will be adjusted according to the local currency and market. G Suite Enterprise pricing will remain the same.
The new pricing will go into effect on April 2; those on annual plans will pay the new price when their contract renews after that date.
Usually, a $1 or $2 price increase wouldn’t be a big deal, but this is the first time Google has raised the price of its G Suite subscriptions. The company argues that it has added plenty of new services — like video conferencing with Hangouts Meet, team messaging with Hangouts Chat, increased storage quotas and other security and productivity tools and services — to the platform since it first launched its paid service with its core productivity tools back in 2006.
That seems like a fair argument to me, though a 20 percent price increase may be hard to swallow for some small businesses. It’s also worth remembering that G Suite is now big business for Google. There are now more than 4 million businesses on G Suite, after all, and while some of them are surely on enterprise plans with a price point their teams negotiated privately, the vast majority of them are surely on the standard monthly or annual plans.
Google today announced that it has started the long-expected rollout of its Material Design update for Google Docs, Sheets, Slides and Sites, after first testing this update to the G Suite apps with its new design for Google Drive last year. It’s worth noting that there are no new features or other changes here. Everything […]
Google today announced that it has started the long-expected rollout of its Material Design update for Google Docs, Sheets, Slides and Sites, after first testing this update to the G Suite apps with its new design for Google Drive last year.
It’s worth noting that there are no new features or other changes here. Everything is still exactly where it used to be (give or take a few pixels). This is solely a design refresh.
What you can expect to see when you get the update, is different interface fonts, slightly revised controls and some new iconography. There’s also some fresh new colors here and there, too. But that’s about it.
Google started the rollout of this new design for G Suite subscribers on the Rapid Release schedule today and everybody who is on that should get it within the next 15 days. Those users whose admins are a bit timider and are sticking to the Scheduled Release schedule will see the new design around February 11. Google doesn’t typically say when those features roll out to free users, but chances are you’ll see them within the next month, too.
Google has been rolling out updated designs for most of its web and mobile apps over the course of the last few months. Google Calendar was one of the latest apps to get this update and with the addition of the G Suite productivity apps, the company has now mostly completed this project — until it released updated Material Design guidelines, of course.
Mobile licensing changes made by Google this fall, when it tweaked terms for OEMs wanting to license its Android smartphone platform on devices destined for the European market, don’t appear to be offering succour to search rivals — despite being triggered by an antitrust ruling intended to reset the competitive playing field. The European Commission […]
Mobile licensing changes made by Google this fall, when it tweaked terms for OEMs wanting to license its Android smartphone platform on devices destined for the European market, don’t appear to be offering succour to search rivals — despite being triggered by an antitrust ruling intended to reset the competitive playing field.
The decision required Google cease practices judged to be illegally skewing the market and do so within 90 days.
It was the second such major EC antitrust finding against Google, after last year’s Google Shopping ruling, when the company was warned that having been found dominant in search it had a “special responsibility” to avoid breaching antitrust rules in any market it plays in.
Google disputes the Commission’s findings of competitive abuse in both cases, and has lodged legal appeals.
But the nature of competition law demands action in the meanwhile, given the threat of punitive penalties for any continued breach. So in October Google responded to the Commission’s Android ruling by updating its regional compatibility agreement to provide a route for OEMs to unbundle key services from the Android OS — rather than requiring its suite of Google apps be pre-loaded for devices to get the Play Store.
However it also incorporated licensing fees for some unbundled configurations (e.g. Android + Play Store). At the same time it said it would not charge any fee to include search or Chrome. And it said it was offering incentives for OEMs to place its eponymous, market dominating search engine (and/or browser) prominently on their devices — despite one of the behaviors the Commission judged illegal being payments Google had made to certain large manufacturers and mobile carriers to exclusively pre-install Google Search.
The Commission did not prescribe specific remedies for the anticompetitive behaviours it pegged to Android — saying it’s “Google’s sole responsibility to make sure that it changes its conduct in a way that brings the infringements to an effective end”.
Though it warned it would closely monitor the company’s conduct, noting that any finding of continued non-compliance would risk fresh fines — of up to 5% of the average daily turnover of Alphabet for each day of non-compliance.
The key word there is “effective” — in terms of what the Commission is watching for.
Meanwhile Google’s dominant position in search naturally makes it the smartphone consumer’s go-to choice — which in turn means there’s a natural incentive for device makers not to ditch Google as the search default. At least for mainstream devices.
But Google’s new European licensing terms for Android appear to be piling additional pressure on OEMs not to switch even for more experimental and/or regional device launches, according to privacy-focused search engine Qwant.
Pay to install
Its experience suggests Google’s initial ‘remedy’ — far from delivering an “effective end” to the competitive infringements the Commission found — is actively steering OEMs away from search alternatives and rival companies.
Qwant, a French startup, launched its non-tracking search offering back in 2013, and has been on a growth tear on its home turf in recent months — winning over high profile users in the public sector as concern has risen about Silicon Valley’s intrusive grip on user data.
The French National Assembly and the French Ministry of the Armed Forces Minister announced this fall they’d switch to Qwant instead of Google as their default.
Of course the startup is still a minnow compared to Google. But it’s growing: Qwant tracks queries rather than users (given it doesn’t track people), and it says it generated 2.6BN queries in 2016; which grew to 9BN last year; and is now on track to end this year with around 18BN queries.
“So if we think about it that means that last year we were three days of Google; this year six days of Google — not so bad!” says co-founder Eric Leandri.
“In France we have now more than 6% of the market,” he continues. “In Germany something like 2%. And we are still growing. We do growth of 20% by month for the last four months. The growth in our revenue is two digit too, by month.”
Earlier this year it had been hoping to make additional regional marketshare gains by securing a deal to be pre-loaded on Android smartphones destined for European markets. A spokesman tells us it has a framework agreement with Huawei. (The Chinese Android OEM is second only to Samsung in global marketshare terms, according to analysts.)
The Commission’s antitrust ruling opened the door to this possibility, given it banned Google from prohibiting OEMs from launching non-Google approved Android forks. So after the ruling things were looking good for Qwant, with the startup on the cusp of securing a device deal for a few European countries, as Leandri tells it.
He blames Google’s licensing changes for putting the kibosh on a launch they’d been expecting to be able to announce in November. Early that month the startup pinged us to trail forthcoming news — of “a major partnership that will allow us to accelerate in the smartphone market” — only to go silent.
A few weeks later it got in touch again to say it had had to postpone the announcement.
“We are very near to one or two deals to be by default or in the list of search engines in some Android cell phone made by a very large Asian manufacturer… Just for Europe, and just for some countries in Europe but we are talking about 10 million or 20 million of cell phones,” says Leandri now.
“And when we have won the bid against Google in October then Google start to say that in Europe you have to pay $40 for Android. So now if you install Qwant you have to pay $40 and if you install Google they give you some cash.”
“Before it was impossible to bid against Google because Google was blocking everything. Now you can — but now the solution of Google is you have to pay $40 if you don’t install Google by default with Chrome just on the bar. You know the bar that is fixed on Android. And this is again an abuse of their dominant position,” he adds.
“Because if I want, for example, 10 million smartphones, the guy has to pay $400M to Google. Do you really think they will pay $400M to Google just to install Qwant?”
Google’s rebuttal of the Commission’s antitrust finding for Android has focused on claims that its approach of free licensing combined with a bundle of Google services has generally enabled competition to thrive in the mobile app ecosystem, as well as claiming lower prices are a “classic hallmark… of robust competition”.
Yet Qwant’s experience offers a clear counterpoint, underlining how challenging it remains to try to compete with Google’s core search business when the same company also dominates the smartphone market and can just throw the levers of Android’s licensing terms to configure how much ‘appetite’ OEMs have for investing in alternative search defaults (given tiny hardware profit margins in the Android space).
After Qwant won over Huawei to building a device with its search engine in prime position, Leandri says it was Google’s changes to the licensing terms for Android that threw a spanner in the works.
“After that pressure then the manufacturer doesn’t know how to react now,” he says, confirming he believes there’s currently no chance for the device to be launched. Not without further changes to how Android operates in the market — i.e. further regulatory intervention.
“So we will work a lot with the European Commission to stop that,” he adds. “But again, again my question is why Google goes that way?”
We reached out to Google to ask about the fees it would charge an OEM wanting to launch an Android device with Google Play but without Google search as the default in Europe.
We also asked how charging a fee for Android if OEMs don’t also bundle Google services can help increase competition, per the Commission’s intention.
At the time of writing Google had not responded to our questions.
We also reached out to Huawei for comment and will update this story with any response.
Even if Qwant and Huawei get their way, and European buyers in a handful of countries are able to choose to buy an Android device with a little search localization as its differentiating out-of-the-box twist, Leandri isn’t under any illusions that a majority of consumers will still switch back to Google of their own accord — given its dominance of search.
He reckons those who’d stick with a non-Google search choice might be as low as a third or 40%.
But his point is that, as it stands, Qwant doesn’t even have the chance to try competing against the Google Goliath on its own terms. And he argues that’s simply not fair.
“Google has billions to make advertisement to ask people to switch, right. And they can even do advertisement on the Play Store for zero because they control the Play Store. Why they don’t come back to a normal market where we are all on the same line and they just compete with advertisement, with pushing their products, with a better proposition of value. It’s crazy, it’s crazy!” he says.
“They have 95% of the market, and on that market they expect that if they don’t have the search by default there then they don’t do money with the Play Store. This is bullshit. They do billions of euros with the app on the Play Store each year. With the 30% that they take on the apps. So this is not true. This is not true, sorry.
“So right now this is our goal and my main work actually is just to obtain the right to have a fair competition — a simple, fair competition.”
“I don’t want to dismantle Google. I don’t want Google to be fined 10BN. I don’t care. The only thing I want is to have the right to have a fair competition,” he adds.
We asked the European Commission to respond to Qwant’s experience, and for an update on its monitoring of Google’s compliance with the Android antitrust ruling.
A spokeswoman declined to comment on an individual case but we understand the Commission has been sending questionnaires to market players as part of its compliance monitoring.
It’s clear the regulator’s intention with the Android decision was to expand consumer choice by creating opportunities for competition that didn’t exist before — including for rival search and browser providers to be able to compete on the merits with Google when it comes to pre-loading their products on Android devices.
So if the Commission’s monitoring efforts confirm instances where competition is being blocked, as appears the case here with Qwant, further interventions will surely follow.
Leandri also points out that Google made much the same arguments vis-a-vis ‘fair competition’ more than a decade ago — when it called for the then computing incumbent, Microsoft, not to stand in the way of Internet upstarts by bundling MSN search into its Internet Explorer web browser.
“The market favors open choice for search, and companies should compete for users based on the quality of their search services,” said Marissa Mayer in 2006, then Google’s vice president for search products. “We don’t think it’s right for Microsoft to just set the default to MSN. We believe users should choose.”
“I totally agree with what they say in 2006! Just exchange Microsoft for Google and that’s it!” he says now, adding: “We have to fight because there is not a lot of other way. But I stop fighting tomorrow as soon as I have a fair competition.
“I’m not waiting for the Commission to make the competition. Right now the percentage of growth that I have in France it’s not based on the Commission who has won or not. It’s based on our value proposition.”
Leandri is also president of the Open Internet Project, a European organization whose members lobby for regulatory action to rein in what they view as Google’s abusive dominance of digital markets, and which was also involved in the Google Shopping complaints — though he points out that in the Android case three of the five complainants are American.
“We are the only European. So the problem is not only for a small startup in Europe. Who, y’know, complained because ‘Google is so cool’. And we are so dumb. And so ridiculous. But the problem is for Oracle, it’s for the Fair Search. It’s not for kids.”
Soon it will be easier for people without Google accounts to collaborate on G Suite documents. Currently in beta, a new feature will enable G Suite users to invite people without G Suite subscriptions or Google accounts to work on files by sending them a pin code. Using the pin code to gain access allows […]
Soon it will be easier for people without Google accounts to collaborate on G Suite documents. Currently in beta, a new feature will enable G Suite users to invite people without G Suite subscriptions or Google accounts to work on files by sending them a pin code.
Using the pin code to gain access allows invitees to view, comment on, suggest edits to, or directly edit Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides. The owners and admins of the G Suite files monitor usage through activity logs and can revoke access at any time. According to the feature’s support article, admins are able to set permissions by department or domain. They can also restrict sharing outside of white-listed G Suite domains or their own organization.
In order to sign up for the beta program, companies need to fill in this form and select a non-G Suite domain they plan to collaborate with frequently.
According to a Reuters article published in February, since intensifying their focus on enterprise customers, Google has doubled the number of organizations with a G Suite subscription to more than 4 million. But despite Google’s efforts to build its enterprise user base, G Suite hasn’t come close to supplanting Office 365 as the cloud-based productivity software of choice for companies.
Office 365 made $13.8 billion in sales in 2016, versus just $1.3 billion for G Suite, according to Gartner. Google has added features to G Suite, however, to make the two competing software suites more interoperable, including an update that enables Google Drive users to comment on Office files, PDFs, and images in the Drive preview panel without needing to convert them to Google Docs, Sheets or Slide files first, even if they don’t have Microsoft Office or Acrobat Reader. Before that, Google also released a Drive plugin for Outlook.
This may not convince Microsoft customers to switch, especially if they have been using its software for decades, but at least it will get more workers comfortable with Google’s alternatives, and may convince some companies to subscribe to G Suite for at least some employees or departments.
Lately, Google has been all about shaving time off your everyday activities when sending emails. First they came out with smart responses that let you choose among several (sometimes) logical responses to the email. Next was type ahead, which guesses what you might want to type with remarkable accuracy. Today the company announced the general […]
Lately, Google has been all about shaving time off your everyday activities when sending emails. First they came out with smart responses that let you choose among several (sometimes) logical responses to the email. Next was type ahead, which guesses what you might want to type with remarkable accuracy. Today the company announced the general availability of compose actions, another way to save you a little time.
These connectors, which are part of the company’s G Suite business offering, link to your favorite SaaS applications like Box, Dropbox, Egnyte and Atlassian Jira and let you work on these service in the context of the email. Software companies have been stressing ways to keep you in the flow of your work without switching focus and that’s precisely what compose actions have been designed to do.
“Compose actions make it easy for you to add attachments, reference records, or liven up your messages with content from your favorite third-party apps right as you draft your message in Gmail,” Aakash Sahney, Google’s product manager for Gmail and Chat wrote in a blog post announcing the new feature.
You start by connecting your service of choice in G Suite using the Gmail Add-on tool. Google created Gmail Add-ons to make it simpler to integrate these third-party tools into the Gmail workflow. Once you authorize the tool, it will now appear as an option in your compose window, giving you direct access to the content without leaving Gmail. G Suite admins can create a list of authorized apps if they wish to limit the integrations to sanctioned services.
If you want to incorporate a file or folder from Box, Dropbox or Egnyte, authorize the app and then you can click the compose action that appears in the email compose window to access the service and pull in a file.
With the Atlassian integration, you can insert a project file directly in the email.
This may not seem like much, but it’s all in the service of reducing keystrokes and actions that tend to add up in terms of time spent over the course of a day. Instead of opening your content provider’s service, navigating or searching to the content, copying it and then pasting into the email, you can simply click the compose action and access the service directly from Gmail.
Compose actions were first announced at the Google Cloud Next conference in July. They are available for G Suite subscribers starting today.
You thought Google+ was dead, didn’t you? And it is — if you’re a consumer. But the business version of Google’s social network will live on for the foreseeable future — and it’s getting a bunch of new features today. Google+ for G Suite isn’t all that different from the Google+ for consumers, but its focus […]
You thought Google+ was dead, didn’t you? And it is — if you’re a consumer. But the business version of Google’s social network will live on for the foreseeable future — and it’s getting a bunch of new features today.
Google+ for G Suite isn’t all that different from the Google+ for consumers, but its focus is very much on allowing users inside a company to easily share information. Current users include the likes of Nielsen and French retailer Auchan.
The new features that Google is announcing today give admins more tools for managing and reviewing posts, allow employees to tag content and provide better engagement metrics to posters.
Recently Google introduced the ability for admins to bulk-add groups of users to a Google+ community, for example. And soon, those admins will be able to better review and moderate posts made by their employees. Soon, admins will also be able to define custom streams so that employees could get access to a stream with all of the posts from a company’s leadership team, for example.
But what’s maybe more important in this context is that tags now make it easy for employees to route content to everybody in the company, no matter which group they work in. “Even if you don’t know all employees across an organization, tags makes it easier to route content to the right folks,” the company explains in today’s blog post. “Soon you’ll be able to draft posts and see suggested tags, like #research or #customer-insights when posting customer survey results.”
As far as the new metrics go, there’s nothing all that exciting going on here, but G Suite customers who keep their reporting structure in the service will be able to provide analytics to employees so they can see how their posts are being viewed across the company and which teams engage most with them.
At the end of the day, none of these are revolutionary features. But the timing of today’s announcement surely isn’t a coincidence, given that Google announced the death of the consumer version of Google+ — and the data breach that went along with that — only a few days ago. Today’s announcement is clearly meant to be a reminder that Google+ for the enterprise isn’t going away and remains in active development. I don’t think all that many businesses currently use Google+, though, and with Hangouts Chat and other tools, they now have plenty of options for sharing content across groups.
At an event in Tokyo, Google today announced the launch of Work Insights, a new tool that gives businesses more insights into how their employees use the company’s G Suite productivity tools and how teams collaborate using those tools. In addition, Google is also launching its investigation tool for helping business better secure their data […]
At an event in Tokyo, Google today announced the launch of Work Insights, a new tool that gives businesses more insights into how their employees use the company’s G Suite productivity tools and how teams collaborate using those tools.
In addition, Google is also launching its investigation tool for helping business better secure their data in G Suite into general availability.
“Work Insights is a tool built specifically to help businesses measure and understand the impact of digital transformation within their organizations, driven by G Suite,” Reena Nadkarni, a group product manager for G Suite, explains in today’s announcement. Data is aggregated at the team level (where a team needs to have 10 people or more) to help businesses understand how their employees are adapting G Suite apps.
As enterprises bet on one vendor or the other, there’s always a bit of a transition period and not everybody makes the move quite as quickly as others. Most of these tools, though, only really work when the whole company adopts them. That’s especially true for communication tools like Slack, Hangouts Chat/Meet or Microsoft Teams, but also for productivity tools like G Suite.
The other use cases here, though, is actually far more interesting. Work Insights will also give companies a view of how users on different teams interact with each other (think the marketing and sales teams). If they are working on documents together, then they are probably working well together, too (or just leaving acerbic comments on marketing presentations, but you get the general idea here).
“This insight can help executives identify opportunities to strengthen collaboration and reduce siloes,” Nadkarni writes. Since few executives ever say that they want less collaboration and more siloes, chances are we’ll see quite a few companies adopt these tools.