Global tech giant Google reported that its cloud unit won a deal to supply computing and networking resources to SpaceX, Mr. Elon Musk’s privately owned space development company, to assist in the delivery of internet service through its Starlink satellites.
Ground stations connected to SpaceX’s Starlink satellites will be installed at Google data centers, to deliver quick internet service to enterprises in the second half of this year.
The deal is a victory for Google, as it works to take share from eCommerce giant Amazon and US-based Microsoft in the rapidly rising cloud computing market. Investors are counting on Google’s emerging cloud business to help the company prosper if its advertising business slows.
While Google’s cloud business accounted for just 7 percent of parent company Alphabet’s overall revenue in the first quarter, it increased nearly 46 percent year over year, compared to 32 percent for Google’s advertising services.
It’s also a unique deal for Google like every other cloud provider since it heavily depends on Google’s internal network, which links data centers, rather than merely outsourcing functions like computing power or data storage to these data centers.
Mr. Bikash Koley, Google’s Head of Global Networking remarked that “this is one of a kind. I don’t believe something like this has been done before. The real potential of this technology became very obvious. The power of combining cloud with universal secure connectivity, it’s a very powerful combination.”
In 2012, Google launched its computing service. Mr. Koley stated that however, the company has spent money developing a private fiber-optic network to link its data centers over the last two decades. While much of Google’s cloud growth has come from serving clients including Goldman Sachs and Snap with computing and storage needs, the SpaceX deal would rely heavily on Google’s networking capabilities.
According to an individual who refused to be identified when negotiating confidential terms, the deal could last seven years.
Mr. Thomas Kurian, Chief Executive Officer Google’s Cloud Group added that consumers living in areas with limited internet access, as well as companies and government organizations working on projects in remote areas, can find Starlink’s service useful.
Google is not the only cloud provider to be working with Starlink. Microsoft announced in October that it was working with SpaceX to introduce Starlink internet access to Azure cloud data centers that customers could deploy anywhere.
SpaceX will initially install the ground stations at Google data centers in the US, but the company plans to grow globally, according to the source.