In May, the European Commission launched a Public Consultation on cloud computing to collect stakeholders’ input on opportunities and barriers to the adoption of cloud computing. Ms. Neelie Kroes, the Vice President of the European Commission and European Digital Agenda Commissioner, summarised Europe’s ambition quite well when she declared in a recent speech, that “the goal is to make Europe not just cloud-friendly but also cloud-active.”
At Google, we fully support the European Commission’s efforts in this area. Cloud computing is gaining traction in Europe and elsewhere. The cloud saves users money and it creates jobs. According to a recent study from Professor Federico Etro of the University of Venice, cloud computing in the EU will contribute 0.4% of GDP and create a million jobs by 2016. Similarly, in the United States Vivek Kundra, previously the Obama administration’s Chief Information Officer, recently pointed out in the New York Times that U.S. government agencies can gain significant economic benefits by moving their IT services to the cloud. And, as we said in July, the United States has reached out to industry for input. We’re thrilled that governments in Europe and the United States are so enthusiastic about cloud computing.
For these reasons, Google has submitted its contribution to this important debate in Europe. In particular, we have provided our point of view on what we consider key issues, namely:
- The legislative framework: We suggest proposals to facilitate cloud adoption and to remove the legislative and administrative barriers service providers are facing in Europe, and still preserve consumer values and data protection.
- Embracing interoperability and data portability: Google has put a lot of effort into tools and solutions aimed at giving users control over their data in the cloud and making data genuinely portable.
- Public sector clouds: the public sector should lead by example in important fields like security and procurement, at the EU, national and local levels (similar to the “Cloud First” strategy in the United States).
- Global solutions for global problems: one of the advantages of the cloud is scalability, which needs to be fostered by setting global standards, in particular in the areas of data protection and security.