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Google Is Searching for a Way to Win the Cloud

Trailing far behind its biggest rivals, the company is undergoing a multiyear effort to improve the reliability of its infrastructure.

Thomas Kurian, chief executive officer of Google Cloud.

Thomas Kurian, chief executive officer of Google Cloud.

Photographer: Michael Short/Bloomberg

When Amazon’s cloud computing network went down on Dec. 7, it hampered a broad swath of companies that rely on its servers, including Disney, Netflix, and Ticketmaster. The rare company with reason to welcome the widespread disruptions caused by Amazon Web Services’ worst outage in more than a year? Google.

Despite its dominance in consumer services, Alphabet Inc.’s search giant has long trailed Amazon.com Inc. and Microsoft Corp. in the fast-growing cloud computing industry. Cloud companies compete on various fronts—speed, features, reliability—but a key part of Google Cloud Chief Executive Officer Thomas Kurian’s plan to catch up is to convince customers that Google’s cloud infrastructure is more reliable than the competition’s.