Google's Diane Greene has a secret weapon against Amazon Web Service to win cloud customers


Diane Greene

Business Insider/screen capture

Google's cloud boss Diane Greene

On Tuesday, Google's cloud business announced that it won Evernote as a customer. Google didn't exactly steal Evernote away from a major competitor like Amazon Web Services, although it did win the contract against other bidders it won't name, it says.


Prior to coming to Google's cloud, Evernote was running its own servers in its own leased-space data center. Even so, this is a significant win for Google. Evernote claims 200 million users who have stored billions of notes and around 5 billion attachments.

What's unique about this win is that it goes against the typical arc of running a company, which is to start in the cloud and then, if and when you grow big enough, you fire up your own data centers.

Google's head of cloud computing, Diane Greene says she thinks that more companies which currently run their own data centers will follow Evernote's lead and ditch them for the cloud.

Amazon is already starting to see that occur, with a growing number of companies going all-in on its cloud and shutting down their data centers, including Intuit, a company where Greene is a board member.


Evernote is the first of such wins for Google's cloud. "You just couldn't begin to do what we do in our data centers with out scale. We spent $10 billion in capex last year," Greene says.

She says that Google won Evernote for a few reasons. Google can offer Evernote the security it needs, she says. Google employs 650 full-time security experts, she says.

Ignoring the naysayers

Then there's prices. Google has priced its cloud services low. Word on the street is that Google is more interested in beefing up its roster of customers than in the revenue and profitability of the deals, particularly as Google's cloud business doesn't need to publicly disclose its financials.

Evernote, as we previously reported, has been focused on cutting costs.

But most importantly, Greene says that Google won this contract because it's able to "partner" with Evernote.


"They'll be able to innovate faster, partnered with us innovating on the backend for them," she said, speaking at the Disrupt tech conference in San Francisco on Tuesday.

And that, she says, is Google's main game plan for winning the cloud, even over rival Amazon which currently has a huge lead. Google believes it can build cloud computing into a bigger business than its internet ad business.

But it's become fashionable to say that it's already game-over for Google and that Amazon has won this market.

Greene isn't phased by the naysayers. When asked how she'll succeed, she said: "I think it's how we partner with customers. Engineer to engineer. Good engineer to good engineer."

In other words, it's not just Google's products that she's selling to companies looking to hire a cloud provider. She's selling access to Google's world-class, deep bench of engineering talent.


The company has long had the reputation of hiring only best and the brightest and that could prove to be her secret sauce.

Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through hispersonal investment company Bezos Expeditions.