Reflections: 5 months in at Google Cloud… and looking out to the Horizon
Alison Wagonfeld

I’m not sure what the “Google Cloud” encompasses. I have three business subscriptions to GMail and the other Google services, like Google Drive. This software is adequate, but not great. It is certainly better than the competition (e.g., Microsoft).

I implemented a feature that allows nderground users to invite people from their GMail contacts list to join nderground. This was a pretty unpleasant experience since several of the Google Java reference codes did not work and the documentation was barely adequate.

Admittedly Google was better than Yahoo (which is completely non-functional) and Microsoft (where do you start when it comes to their array of email products?)

Or by cloud services do you mean Google as a platform for building a large scale web application like nderground?

When I was designing the architecture of nderground, I looked at Google as a platform. I found a number of accounts by start-ups who had used the Google cloud and found that they could not get support when they critically needed it. I also found that, compared to Amazon Web Services, Google is far behind.

Google only provides something resembling customer support in two areas: advertising and the Android operating system. Outside of these areas, support simply is not part of Google’s culture. Google sees users as mass statistics, not as single customers that Google wants to help make successful.

In contrast, Amazon has various levels of support available by subscription. Amazon has also invested in the Amazon Loft in San Francisco and other cities. Loft provides free architectural advice for building in the Amazon Cloud. When I was designing and doing the early work on nderground, I visited the Loft several times to talk to Amazon engineers. I also attended several free classes.

Google tends to have a culture of self-congratulation, which comes through in this post. Perhaps when it comes to search and advertising this has some basis. When it comes to the type of cloud services that a start-up needs to build an complex application, Google is far behind Amazon. If you disagree with this sentence, then I would add that Google is so far behind Amazon that they don’t even understand what Amazon has built.

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