Google has revealed it has built its second European data centre for the cloud computing services it rents to third parties. This latest facility is in London and after the company's Brussels centre promises to provide faster access times to nearby clients. In announcing the London centre, Google also disclosed plans to open facilities in Finland, the Netherlands and Frankfurt.
A recent study by Gartner suggested that Google is currently the third most capable cloud computing service provider, following Amazon and Microsoft. The technology consultancy added that in terms of sales to the 'cloud infrastructure as a service' market, Google's share was a 'distant third'. Until now, the search giant has focused on opening data centres for its cloud computing platform in the US and Asia, where it has bases in Singapore, Taiwan and Tokyo.
Google's cloud platform customers throughout the British Isles and Western Europe will see significant reductions in latency when they run their workloads in the London region, according to product manager Dave Stiver, referring to processing delays caused by the distances data has to travel. In cities like London, Dublin, Edinburgh and Amsterdam, Google's performance testing shows 40% to 82% reductions in round-trip latency when serving customers from London compared with the Belgium region.
The Google platform allows users to offload data processing tasks and information storage, including support for apps they may offer to the public and analysing feedback gathered from internet-connected devices. By charging customers for the amount of compute time they use rather than a flat rate, Google seeks to provide IT departments with a cheaper alternative to maintaining their own data centres. Existing customers include the Telegraph newspaper, Coca-Cola and the online education service Khan Academy.
A spokeswoman for the company added that the decision to build a London centre had been taken before the Brexit vote and was therefore unrelated to speculation that the UK's data privacy laws may diverge from the EU's in the future.
Google does not disclose revenue for its cloud platform but analysts estimate that it generated about $1bn (£776m) of sales last year and forecast it will double that amount in 2018.