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

Shining light on new 'cool' cloud technologies and their drawbacks

IONOS Cloud Up! Summit, Cloud Technology Session with Russell Barley

Watch now

Build mobile and web apps faster

Three proven tips to accelerate modern app development

Free download

Reduce the carbon footprint of IT operations up to 88%

A carbon reduction opportunity

Free Download

Comparing serverless and server-based technologies

Determining the total cost of ownership

Free download

Most Popular

How to move Microsoft's Windows 11 from a hard drive to an SSD
Microsoft Windows

How to move Microsoft's Windows 11 from a hard drive to an SSD

24 Nov 2021
What should you really be asking about your remote access software?
Sponsored

What should you really be asking about your remote access software?

17 Nov 2021
Best MDM solutions 2020
mobile device management (MDM)

Best MDM solutions 2020

12 Nov 2021