Google Cloud Platform offers the IT infrastructure businesses need to perform cloud data storage, and deploy applications on a global scale. 

Google Cloud Platform is a cloud computing services vendor like AWS or Microsoft Azure.Google Cloud Platform offers products in categories like computing, storage, data analytics, etc.Google Cloud Platform has a free tier, but most users will need the pay-as-you-go subscription.

Despite being among the biggest and most important cloud service providers in the world, Google’s cloud computing service — called Google Cloud Platform — may not be as well known as some of its top competitors.

Even so, Google commands nearly 10% of the global cloud computing market with customers that include heavy hitters like Verizon, LinkedIn, Intel, Yahoo, and PayPal, just to name a few. 

What is Google Cloud Platform?

The Google Cloud Platform is a cloud computing services vendor. It offers a large array of computing resources to businesses that need access to servers, computing power, and storage space without incurring the expense and complexity of maintaining those IT resources themselves. In other words, Google Cloud Platform offers businesses a piece of the cloud.  

In this sense, Google Cloud Platform is very similar to competitors like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Alibaba Cloud. All of these companies offer the IT infrastructure needed to manage large databases, perform cloud data storage, and deploy applications on a global scale. 

Google Cloud Platform is focusing more on incorporating AI into its core products, much like Google DeepMind or Gemini.

In 2023, Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced upgrades to its generative AI model used in Google Cloud Platform, allowing customers to use AI to write code.

Why use Google Cloud Platform?

Some businesses prefer to use a vendor like Google Cloud Platform to avoid managing their own data centers or server farms.

Much like Google Ads, Google Cloud Platform is designed to help businesses build and optimize their online presence without necessarily becoming computing or advertising experts.

In fact, Google offers dozens of products through its Google Cloud Platform in categories that include computing, storage, databases, operations, developer tools, data analytics, and more.

It’s appealing to many businesses because it offers scalability and reach without the need to own or maintain their own data centers or server farms. It also offloads the headaches and responsibility for security and compliance from businesses, since Google handles all of that. 

There’s a wealth of options within the Google Cloud Platform. GCP’s App Engine lets you build and host applications on the same systems where Google’s own applications live, with the advantages of fast development and deployment, easy scalability, and simple administration. 

Among Google’s storage offerings is its Cloud Storage service, which lets you store and access your data on Google’s infrastructure. It combines scalability with Google’s integrated security and sharing. There are a variety of networking tools, including Cloud CDN, Cloud DNS, Cloud Firewall, Cloud VPN, and Virtual Private Cloud — a completely secure and private network topology that delivers a secure environment for your deployments. 

And if you need data analytics, GCP offers BigQuery, a data analysis service that lets businesses analyze big data that measures in the hundreds of terabytes.

The difference between Google Cloud Platform and Google Cloud

With all those offerings, it’s easy to confuse Google Cloud Platform with Google Cloud — they have deceptively similar names, and Google itself sometimes uses the terms interchangeably. That said, one is not always just a shorthand for the other. 

Instead, Google Cloud represents the full suite of public cloud computing services offered by the search giant, of which GCP is just one component. Google Cloud, for example, includes Google Workspace (the suite of productivity tools like Google Docs or Google Sheets that were formerly known as G Suite and Google Apps). 

Is Google Cloud Platform free?

Google Cloud Platform has a pay-as-you-go pricing model, but offers a free trial and an “Always Free” tier with usage limits.

You can get started with Google Cloud Platform at a relatively low cost. Google offers a 90-day free trial with $300 in credit that includes everything most businesses need to build and run apps, websites, and services, including access to Firebase and the Google Maps API. 

After the first 90 days, Google offers a pay-as-you-go pricing model with no upfront or termination fees, and monthly billing based on actual usage.

If your cloud computing needs are modest, you may even qualify for the Always Free tier — stay under Google’s certain usage limits, and GCP is truly free with no billing against the resources you use. 

Google Cloud Platform’s disadvantages

There’s a lot here to tempt businesses, but Google Cloud Platform has its disadvantages as well. 

While cloud platforms like GCP dramatically reduce the upfront costs and complexity associated with servers, in the long run, the costs can add up and might exceed the expense of maintaining your own data center. 

And if you ever decide to change cloud services or switch to an in-house IT model, you might find that the proprietary nature of GCP services makes migrating away from Google difficult. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

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