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Google Cloud Ventures – Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

The Cloud has made entrepreneurism itself more accessible to more people

To best capture the primary value of Cloud Computing I always recommend looking at the scenario of a new entrepreneur launching their online business.

The Cloud has made entrepreneurism itself more accessible to more people, lowering the barrier to entry by lowering the costs it takes to launch a new online venture by a magnitude, while simultaneously improving the quality of the apps you can produce, and how quickly you can produce them.

giant-shoulders1Combined with the continuing explosion of online users and how much they grow their daily use of social media, e-commerce etc., this is a massively potent combination.

Of course this benefit isn’t limited to startup entrepreneurs – Harnessing the Cloud to grow online sales is obviously a success that any and all businesses would enjoy, and doing it faster and cheaper is equally smart for all of them.

Paas-Cloud2PaaS-accelerated ventures

In my view there is no Cloud provider who better supports and exploits this trend than Google.

Certainly while Amazon is recognized as the IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) leader, where they have huge depth of scale in this field, Google can be characterized more by breadth of offering.

This also highlights the key distinctions between the layers of IaaS, PaaS and SaaS and how this relate to the process of rapidly developing and launching new online ventures.

Amazon is indeed hard to beat for the raw compute power that developers want when they have custom coded an app all by themselves, but this is not the only way to achieve the goal.

The effect of ‘standing on the shoulders of giants’ is best exploited when you consider PaaS (Platform as a Service), and it’s especially important to this scenario because it emphasizes reusing what is already available to build your new product, rather than trying to hand-code it all from scratch.

In short why spend all of your investment money on developing technology that is already to hand, when in instead you can assemble ‘lego bricks’ quicker and more effectively, and then concentrate your funding on marketing and acquiring customers.

The power of this approach is demonstrated through a few great examples:

  • In this blog they analyze how Google Apps has been used to develop a mobile sales voucher system in Africa. This explains how all the PaaS component parts have been used to build a point of sale system, using services such as ’Fetch URL’ to exchange messages with mobile networks and send text alerts.
  • Streak CRM is a powerful example because as well as also using this same approach they are also working through Google as their route to market, embedding a CRM tool into the very popular GMail tool. They make the critical point that the PaaS approach is how you “use the best tool for the job” and how your own product can be as big as the modules you are basing it on – For example they are leveraging the Prediction API to embed this intelligence into the CRM service, making smart recommendations for how users can file their emails.
  • In Scaling SongPop and Building Scalable Games they describe how the platform scale and raw utility like storage can be harnessed for large scale ventures in social and gaming applications.

It`s all about Google UC

This platform approach can be applied to a number of sectors in a highly disruptive manner.

One key industry we will focus on in upcoming blogs is UC: Unified Communications.

As this diagram shows, the evolution of this is to ‘Social Communications and Collaboration‘, a scenario that Google is ideally positioned for.

The real strength of the Google play is the ability to develop for the end-to-end experience: The Google suite extends right down to the browser (Chrome) where some plug-ins at that end might be the real lynch pin to a killer business model.

For example in this month`s Entrepreneur magazine they report on how a startup called Crowdcall is enjoying massive growth simply by having a conference call service that calls you, rather than you dialing in. It also taps your Linkedin contacts to automate the dialing.

That’s such a simple idea but a killer app one that is driving growth of 100% a month!

Google is an ideal platform for your own disruptive models like this. Example PaaS modules include the Mail API and XMPP, and they offer their own ideas for Google innovations in telephony.

This end to end capability is very nicely demonstrated in this presentation recently delivered to the Toronto Google Developer Group, introducing the role of ‘Google Cloud End Points‘ in the process of developing apps for Android mobile devices.

Of course this highlights what a wealth of talent is available in this area in Toronto, so if you would like to explore how your venture idea can be built on the shoulders of giants, stay tuned for upcoming CCN events.

sheepdog3If you want to dive more directly into exploring how your business could harness Google Cloud, check out my announcement about joining Canada’s leading integrator in this field, and we can meet to brainstorm…

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