Google sees jump in cloud infra use as India stays at home during lockdown

Since January, Google has seen Meet’s peak daily usage growing 30 times
Karan Bajwa, managing director (MD) of Google Cloud in India, has been with the technology major for a little over a month. But he is already seeing unprecedented growth, triggered by the Covid--19 pandemic that has brought the world to its knees. 

But the need for executing tasks in the physical world virtually has triggered enormous demand for software infrastructure, with Google being a key provider of those. 

Bajwa, who joined Google in March, says the company is witnessing huge surge for its cloud computing products and services that power videoconferencing, online gaming, and streaming television. Previously, Bajwa was heading IBM India as MD, and prior to that, he was heading Microsoft India.

“There is immense openness in terms of embracing technology. That is why we are pushing the limits on bringing technology to every user — whether enterprises or consumers,” said Bajwa, in an interview.

“Most organisations do factor in break-downs and disasters, but something of this (Covid-19) nature across the world and for an extended time is unprecedented.” The Mountain View, California-based firm has made its premium videoconferencing product Google Meet free for everyone. Anyone with an email address can sign up for Meet and use many of the same features available to Google’s business and education users, starting this month.


Meet itself has been seeing huge acceptance among users. Since January, Google has seen Meet’s peak daily usage growing 30 times. As of April, Meet was hosting 3 billion minutes of video meetings and adding roughly 3 million new users every day. According to the company, Meet’s daily meeting participants had surpassed 100 million as of last week.

“Everything that Google does and is doing in the past few weeks are things that have been about democratising technology and putting it in the hands of the people,” said Bajwa, who is responsible for driving all revenue and go-to-market operations for Google Cloud’s solution portfolio that includes Google Cloud Platform and G Suite.

In India, Google Cloud is being used by several of large enterprises, including Dr Reddy’s Laboratories, IndiaMART, Hero MotoCorp, Manipal Hospitals, and Wipro. Google competes with global rivals, such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, and Alibaba, to dominate cloud computing services. According to a report by technology research firm Canalys, cloud infrastructure services spending worldwide hit yet another record at $31.0 billion in the first quarter of 2020, growing at 34 per cent year-on-year. 

It said growth was driven by organisations around the world moving to remote working owing to the pandemic. A surge in demand for online collaboration tools, e-commerce, and consumer cloud services drove sharp increases in cloud infrastructure consumption, benefiting all major cloud providers, it added.

At a time when many sectors, such as education and health care in India, are going online to adapt to the new reality, Bajwa also said Google is seeing huge opportunities for security technologies, apart from artificial intelligence. 

“Earlier you had a very small proportion of users working from home, while a large part will be in your corporate network. Now with everybody working from home, your surface area of users changes multifold. That opens you up to a very different order of magnitude of issues from a security standpoint.”

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