Google is mostly about search but every day that becomes less true. We had written about some of the many projects that Google is getting involved in helping the company keep up solid growth and diversify itself. Many of those involve using “the cloud”.
What is cloud computing? It basically revolves around the concept of companies storing all data on the internet, on Google’s own hard drives instead of its own. The sales pitch behind it is that it makes the data reachable at anytime from anywhere and makes that data more secure. Many Google initiatives depend heavily on users having confidence in the protection of the data. Gmail is one of those but Google Apps is even more so. As Google tries to move towards bigger corporate and government clients, it needs to avoid any type of error regarding its cloud. If these divisions are to become Google’s next billion dollar business, it must depend on cloud computing.
About 18 months ago, Twitter, which had been using Google docs, saw all of its private financial statements become public when someone hacked into one of its Google accounts and published the data. That was bad but thankfully it was not Google’s fault as it could not be held responsible for a Twitter employee leaking his password. That being said, it was still a wake up call for many potential and current clients about the possible issues with cloud computing
Just last week, Google unfortunately was a big part of the news when it had to confirm it had lost emails for thousands of its customers because of a software problem. The glitch affected 0.08% of its users which sounds tiny but it still represents many thousands of customers that can tweet, or discuss their issues very publicly, especially in this era of social media. The major issue was that Google was unable to recover the data for over a day because it said that all electronic copies (including backups) had been erased as well by this software. Not good. Not good at all. It was eventually able to recover the data which makes it only a strike but still a big worry…
So what next?
I think Google needs to address what happened publicly. How can the company make sure it will not happen again? Can the company guarantee that nothing would ever erase all backups? Google needs to take this seriously because one breach, hacking incident or data loss incident could turn out to be a big event for the search giant.