Google to Serve the "Government Cloud"

Last Updated Sep 16, 2009 2:05 PM EDT

One takeaway from Richard L. Brandt's new book about Google's co-founders, Inside Larry & Sergey's Brain, is how deeply committed these men are to various political and social causes. Both come from progressive political families, both attended Montessori schools, and both share an idealistic vision for all the good their company can accomplish in the world.

Of course, Google is also the most disruptive company on the planet, which means they have lots of "enemies" -- basically anyone anywhere trying to hold on to a pre-Internet business model or some other relic of a fading status quo.

Which includes the entire traditional media industry.

Among the founders' political causes last year was the election of Barack Obama, and now he has a smart CIO, Vivek Kundra, in place, they have access to someone who understands their language -- something still not generally true in government circles -- or in industry, for that matter.

Thus it was not surprising yesterday that Sergey Brin attended Kundra's briefing on the Obama administration's launch of Apps.gov at the NASA Ames Research Center, which is not far from the Google's own Mountainview-based headquarters.

According to Miguel Helft's amusing account of the informally-dressed Brin's Ames drive-by, Brin highlighted Google's recent decision to devote a part of its infrastructure to serving government on all levels (local, state, federal) exclusively.

"The U.S. government is probably the largest enterprise I know of," Brin is quoted as saying. He added that Google might face less regulatory resistance to its innovations once government officials become more familiar with what he termed their "government cloud."

"If you use something, you understand it better," he stated.

Meanwhile, on the ever-improving White House website, Kundra outlined his vision for Apps.gov: "(It) is an online storefront for federal agencies to quickly browse and purchase cloud-based IT services, for productivity, collaboration, and efficiency...(it) is a one-stop source for cloud services â€" an innovation that not only can change how IT operates, but also save taxpayer dollars in the process."

Currently, the U.S. government spends $75 billion annually on IT. So this is not only a meeting of the minds between a progressive administration and a progressive company, this is good for Google's (and other tech providers) bottom line.

  • David Weir

    David Weir is a veteran journalist who has worked at Rolling Stone, California, Mother Jones, Business 2.0, SunDance, the Stanford Social Innovation Review, MyWire, 7x7, and the Center for Investigative Reporting, which he cofounded in 1977. He’s also been a content executive at KQED, Wired Digital, Salon.com, and Excite@Home. David has published hundreds of articles and three books,including "Raising Hell: How the Center for Investigative Reporting Gets Its Story," and has been teaching journalism for more than 20 years at U.C. Berkeley, San Francisco State University, and Stanford.