Google has made a major post-Brexit investment in the UK, opening its first cloud data centres in London.
The company wouldn’t confirm where exactly its data centres are located, or whether they were leased or built by Google.
Google has spent $30 billion (£23 billion) in expanding Google Cloud to date, but doesn’t break out regional spend.
This is Google’s second batch of cloud data centres in the EU after Belgium, with three “availability zones” in London. The upshot for UK firms using Google Cloud is reduced latency and better customer service. Google promised round-trip latency reductions for UK customers of between 40% and 82%, versus its Belgium region.
Google’s global president for cloud customers, Tariq Shaukat, told Business Insider that Brexit had little impact on the company’s timeframe. “The decision pre-dates Brexit,” he said. But the company will continue its investment by hiring more UK staff in marketing and sales for Google Cloud.
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Karen Bradley said the investment was “a vote of confidence in the UK economy.”
She added: “We want digital businesses to be able to operate here, taking advantage of the opportunities a global Britain has as we leave the EU.”
Google is rapidly expanding its cloud business to try and catch up with its bigger competitors: Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft’s Azure. According to fourth quarter statistics, Amazon accounted for 40% of the global cloud computing market. Google’s parent, Alphabet, held 6% of the market.
Cloud is a growing part of Google’s business too. While the company doesn’t break out revenues, cloud accounted for much of Google’s growth in its “other revenues” segment in the first year, up 50% year on year in the three months to March 31.
Shaukat told Business Insider that Google would set itself apart with its reliability. A massive AWS outage in February took out some of the biggest sites on the web, including Quora and Business Insider.
He said the company was considered “best in class” at making sure infrastructure “stays up and running.” Google Cloud also has a dedicated service, customer reliability engineering, that focuses on helping companies architect their applications to boost reliability. “That’s something others are not able to do or are doing today,” Shaukat said.
He promised Google Cloud would be compliant with the incoming EU General Data Protection Regulation by the time it’s implemented next year.
Some British companies already using Google Cloud include fintech app Revolut, The Telegraph, and hosting firm WP Engine.
Amazon Web Services opened its own London region at the end of last year. Microsoft opened a UK data centre region in 2015. This is Google’s tenth region globally, and the company plans to add data centres in Frankfurt, the Netherlands, and Finland.