You can't argue that Google is late to the Cloud infrastructure show. Amazon and Microsoft (number 1 and 2) have a significant lead in features and revenue. But, a recent announcement by Google seems to indicate that the company is getting more serious about competing in the space.
Announced on Tuesday, Google is preparing to rollout a Cloud Platform Developer Roadshow that spans 9 cities so far with 17 more to come. The currently announced cities all reside in the UK, including Amsterdam, Stockholm, Helsinki, Paris, Tel Aviv, Manchester, Milan, London and Berlin. The remaining, unannounced, cities will most likely be in Asia and North America.
The Roadshow will kick off immediately following Google Cloud Platform Live on March 25, 2014, where Google has stated they will make some major product announcements. It's anyone's guess as to what those will be, however, if the history of the industry is any indicator, Google will announce some me-too technologies to help fill the gaps that exist between Google's cloud offerings and AWS and Windows Azure.
The emergence of a Roadshow is interesting in a couple ways.
First, it shows that Google is getting more serious about competing in the Cloud infrastructure and service space. Google already owns a vast Cloud infrastructure, but has yet to define exactly what it wants to do. Google seems distracted at times, getting more press from driver-less cars, robotics, and Glasses. Google has never gotten the Enterprise and has always been more of an "our way or the highway" type of service, meaning all Public Cloud or nothing. For them to even be mildly successful in the Enterprise space, the company needs to show businesses they have what it takes to listen to customers who are choosing Private and Hybrid Cloud solutions over a Public Cloud requirement that is perceived as unsecure, bad for privacy, providing lackluster availability and in a lot of cases against corporate and IT policy. It's possible that Google will address all of this in the product announcements at Google Cloud Platform Live.
The other piece that's interesting is the Roadshow itself. Microsoft was not the first, by any means, but the company does use Roadshows very regularly to reach out, meet the people, and attempt to connect with customers between major product events like TechEd, the Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC), and others. Roadshows are a way of selling the last big announcement to the masses in small chunks. Obviously, this has been a successful endeavor as it seems Google has taken notice and is doing a bit of copycatting. There's quite a bit of that in the industry these days. Microsoft copies Google, Google copies Apple, Apple copies itself. Competition is a good thing as long as it ultimately serves the customer, so it will be interesting to see if Google can make a successful go of the Roadshow.