Who Has the Industry Lead in Cloud Computing?
Amazon, Google, Microsoft Are All Pumping Cloud Computing Steroids
Nov. 17, 2008 12:00 AM
Stephen E. Arnold's Blog
What put the Amazon and Microsoft cloud innovations into sharp relief for me was US2008/0262828 “Encoding and Adaptive Scalable Accessing of Distributed Models.” You can download a copy of this document from the easy-to-use USPTO system. Start here to obtain the full text and diagrams for this patent application. Keep in mind that a patent application does not mean that Google has or will implement the systems and methods disclosed. What the patent application provides is a peep hole through which we can look at some of the thinking that Google is doing with regard to a particular technical issue. The peep hole may be small, but what I saw when I read the document and reviewed the drawings last night (October 24, 2008) sparked my thinking.
Before offering my opinion, let’s look at the abstract for this invention, filed in February 2006 in a provisional application. Keep in mind that we are looking in the rear view mirror here, not at where Google might be today. This historical benchmark is significant when you compare what Amazon and Microsoft are doing to deal with the cloud computing revolution that is gaining momentum. Here’s Google’s summary of the invention:
In typical Google style, there’s a certain economy to the description of an invention involving such technical luminaries as Jeff Dean and 12 other Googlers. The focus of the invention is on-the-fly machine translation. However, the inventors make it clear that the precepts of this invention can be applied to other applications as well. As you may know, Google has expanded its online translation capability in the last few months. If you have not explored this service, navigate to http://translate.google.com and try out the system.
The claims for this patent document are somewhat more specific. I can’t run through the 91 claims in this patent document. I can highlight one, and I will leave review of the other 90 to you. Claim 5 asserted:
The claim makes reasonably clear the basic nesting architecture of Google’s architecture. What impressed me is that this patent document, like other recent Google applications, makes use of an infrastructure as platform. The computational and input output tasks are simply not an issue. Google pretty clearly feels it has the horsepower to handle ad hoc translation in real time without worrying about how data are shoved around within the system. As a result, higher order applications that were impossible even for certain large government agencies can be made available without much foot dragging. I find this remarkable.
This patent document, if Google is doing what the inventors appear to be saying, is significantly different from the innovations I just mentioned from such competitors as Amazon and Microsoft. Google in my opinion is making it clear that it has a multi-year lead in cloud computing.
The thoughts that I noted as I worked thorough the 38 pages of small print in this patent document were:
I may be wrong and I often am but I think Google is not content with its present lead over its rivals. I think this patent document is an indication that Google can put its foot on the gas pedal at any time and operate in a dimension that other companies cannot. Do you agree? Disagree? Let me learn where I am off base. Your view is important because I am finishing a write up for Infonortics about Google and publishing. Help me think straight. I even invite Cyrus to chime in. The drawings in this patent application are among Google’s best that I have seen.
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