Martin Austwick

MARKETING MANAGER WIREHIVE

Thoughts

What is Google Cloud Platform?

On the simplest level Google Cloud Platform, or GCP as it is better known is Google’s answer to Amazon Web Services, or Microsoft Azure.  It is a collection of Hosting, Storage, or Computing services available for people to use around the world.

But that isn’t massively helpful as answers go, and so we’re going to break it down a little. First let’s look at what Google say Google Cloud Platform (GCP) actually is. I’m going to paraphrase…

On the simplest level Google Cloud Platform, or GCP as it is better known is Google’s answer to Amazon Web Services, or Microsoft Azure.  It is a collection of Hosting, Storage, or Computing services available for people to use around the world.

But that isn’t massively helpful as answers go, and so we’re going to break it down a little. First let’s look at what Google say Google Cloud Platform (GCP) actually is. I’m going to paraphrase…

According to Google GCP helps businesses develop and create websites, applications and services, but on the same infrastructure as Google itself. GCP is a way for people to grow their businesses with access to a huge variety of tools and benefits.

These include, among others, AI and machine learning, API management, data analytics, and developer tools. Some of the many well-known companies that currently use GCP includes Lush Cosmetics, Pantheon, and Evernote.

Any clearer?  No, I didn’t think so.  If you are wondering what Google Cloud Platform actually is it’s probably because you are considering using it as opposed to one of the other cloud platforms, and so let’s spend a little time looking at it in a different way.

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Google Cloud Platform is Secure

GCP uses a variety of technologies to create multi-layered security, keeping your data as safe as possible. They have an operations team that detects and responds to internal and external threats throughout the year, 24 hours a day.

They already encrypt data in transit to protect internet communication, as well as automatically encrypting data at rest in their infrastructure to protect against unauthorised access and service interruptions. This phenomenal level of security is available to everyone though GCP.

Google is often accused of harvesting people’s data.  This is only true to a point. Your data is still under your control - you can access it at any point and it will never be used without your consent. It cannot be used for advertising purposes without your explicit agreement, and cannot be accessed by any person, or organisation - including governments - that you don’t give permission to. They also have a GDPR resource centre for any customer to see the exact measures they take to remain compliant.

This mix of transparency and security does not just apply to data though.  It also applies to the machines Google uses.

Google publishes the locations of their data centers so you know where your data is kept. But this doesn’t make them any less secure. Even Google data centres feature multi-level security measures, including vehicle access barriers, perimeter fencing, biometrics, electronic access cards, and intrusion detection measures.

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Google Cloud Platform is Artificial Intelligence

Are you wondering how AI can help businesses develop? GCP can help us answer this question. They have three main sets of AI resources. AI Hub, AI Building Blocks, and AI Platform. They offer both off the shelf general AI solutions, or allow you to build AI solutions specialised to your business needs if that is what you want.

AI Hub lets businesses privately share AI content, to encourage collaboration. Not only can this help organisations share AI components between themselves, it also helps them avoid duplication and therefore saves time. Businesses also get access to Machine Learning (ML) models and research by Google, and material published and shared by third party providers. This allows companies to access their code and knowledge globally through the cloud.

AI Building Blocks allow businesses to construct new intelligent applications or infuse AI into existing ones. The beauty of these is that the products can be tailored to your business. You can use as few or as many as you need to maximise your potential.

Thirdly, AI Platform. This helps you go from a project idea to ML application reality. You can store your AI data in GCP’s cloud storage as you work on it. You’re then able to build and run an ML application, and manage your work once it’s up and running. And finally, you’re able to share your work through ML pipelines, notebooks and other AI content.

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Google Cloud Platform is Data Analytics

GCP gives you a serverless approach to data analytics. This can help speed up decision making processes within your business, encouraging faster development. GCP uses a serverless data warehouse called BigQuery to provide data transferral services, flexible data analysis, and flexible pricing.

GCP then uses a series of other services to make the processes of data analytics easier for you and save you time. Their services provide a powerful data processing platform, to transform and enrich real time and historical data. It provides services to communicate between applications and to develop data pipelines. It also uses Google Sheets to help you gain insights and make sense of your data yourself. And, of course, GCP provides extendable Cloud Storage, so you can store and retrieve any of your data at any time.

These services and processes are all designed to make analysis of your company’s data smoother and faster. This will free up your time to concentrate on other areas of development and modernisation.

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Google Cloud Platform is Environmentally Sustainable

Google releases annual environmental reports on their efforts to create sustainable platforms. In 2017 Google achieved its goal of using 100% renewable energy by converting to wind and solar energy.

Google are constantly working to optimise efficiency and power to maintain this reputation of environmental sustainability and are innovating to improve it further. Some of the many ways they’re achieving this is by using natural cooling systems for their data centers. They also utilise their own Machine Learning services to predict energy outputs 36 hours in advance. This helps grid operators get the highest value out of the energy they are harvesting.

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Google Cloud Platform is Affordable

GCP can seem too good to be true. Surely something that increases efficiency and helps businesses develop this much is going to be expensive enough to balance out the massive potential benefits. This isn’t the case at all.

GCP tools and products can be bought on a sliding scale of cost. It's based on your needs and the size of your business. So, smaller organisations won’t have to pay the same as huge ones. This helps those small businesses hit the ground running, and maximise their potential from the offset, just like the big companies can.  And with billing on some services being per 100ms it simply doesn’t get more affordable than GCP.

Not only this, but you can sign up for a free trial if you still aren’t sure. Signing up for a free trial means Google gives your account $300 to spend on any GCP products for the next year. This gives you twelve months to test out just how well their services can aid your business, before you invest a lot of cash. Plus, there’s no autocharge after your free trial ends, so no chance of losing any money!

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Google Cloud Platform is Easy to Use

It can be pretty daunting for small businesses to take the next steps required in their development. But GCP has tons of handy tutorials and platform overviews. Not only do these explain how to use the services GCP provides, they also show you how to combine the services to maximise your business’ potential. However if you don’t have the time, budget, or inclination to learn how to get the most out of the potential GCP offers then we are very happy to help.

So, hopefully you feel a bit more well-informed about Google Cloud Platform. Of course, such a complex platform is going to be slightly different for every business and user, so it is hard to get a single answer to the initial question. However, if you have more questions about GCP, or simply want to learn more, feel free to get in touch with us!