Google abandons controversial cloud project in China

‘Isolated Region’ was scrapped in May, according to two anonymous sources

Google has decided to abandon the development of a controversial cloud computing project named “Isolated Region”, which catered to various governments’ desires to control data within their borders.

The tech giant scrapped the initiative in May, partly due to the coronavirus pandemic but also due to the rising geopolitical tensions between the US and China, where Isolated Regions was being developed, according to two anonymous Google employees speaking to Bloomberg.

The project, which was launched in early 2018, sought to comply with Chinese regulations which require Western companies to form a joint venture with a Chinese partner company when they provide data or networking services. However, the development was paused in January 2019, reportedly due to Google choosing to focus on potential customers in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

However, according to one source, the geopolitical issues placed demands on Isolated Region that Google was not capable of delivering.

A Google spokeswoman refuted the claims made by the employees, telling Bloomberg that Isolated Region wasn’t shut down for either of the given reasons and that the company “does not offer and has not offered cloud platform services inside China”.

Google has said that the cloud initiative was cancelled because “other approaches we were actively pursuing offered better outcomes”, although it has yet to elaborate on the specifics of these approaches.

“We have a comprehensive approach to addressing these requirements that covers the governance of data, operational practices and survivability of software,” the spokeswoman said. “Isolated Region was just one of the paths we explored to address these requirements.”

Related Resource

2020 State of the Cloud report: European Edition

Cloud spend is rising as organisations adopt multi-cloud strategies and put more workloads and data in the cloud

Download now

“What we learned from customer conversations and input from government stakeholders in Europe and elsewhere is that other approaches we were actively pursuing offered better outcomes."

The news comes just days after Google, alongside Microsoft, Facebook and Twitter, made the decision to suspend the processing of user data requests from the Hong Kong government, following the implementation of a new security law that criminalises protests. The Hong Kong government reportedly requested data from Google users 105 times in 2019 alone.

Featured Resources

Managing security risk and compliance in a challenging landscape

How key technology partners grow with your organisation

Download now

Evaluate your order-to-cash process

15 recommended metrics to benchmark your O2C operations

Download now

AI 360: Hold, fold, or double down?

How AI can benefit your business

Download now

Getting started with Azure Red Hat OpenShift

A developer’s guide to improving application building and deployment capabilities

Download now

Recommended

Microsoft unveils its new retail-focused cloud service
Cloud

Microsoft unveils its new retail-focused cloud service

14 Jan 2021
Private cloud investment boosting hybrid cloud push
hybrid cloud

Private cloud investment boosting hybrid cloud push

14 Jan 2021
Getting started with Azure Red Hat OpenShift
Whitepaper

Getting started with Azure Red Hat OpenShift

6 Jan 2021
Cloudflare launches web hosting service Cloudflare Pages
web development

Cloudflare launches web hosting service Cloudflare Pages

18 Dec 2020

Most Popular

How to move Windows 10 from your old hard drive to SSD
operating systems

How to move Windows 10 from your old hard drive to SSD

21 Jan 2021
What is the Raspberry Pi Pico?
Hardware

What is the Raspberry Pi Pico?

21 Jan 2021
How to recover deleted emails in Gmail
email delivery

How to recover deleted emails in Gmail

6 Jan 2021