Google Cloud announces healthcare APIs and updates – as Apple and Spotify revealed as customers

It has been an interesting week or so for Google Cloud, both directly and indirectly. The company has announced new APIs, updates and customers for its healthcare cloud initiative, while other high-profile customers have been disclosed.

At HiMSS, the healthcare information and management systems society conference, Google launched a new cloud healthcare API, which is better equipped to focus on data types such as HL7, FHIR and DICOM, and also allows customers to crunch the numbers using analytics and machine learning in the cloud.

On the security side, Google’s App Engine and Cloud Machine Learning Engine are now HIPAA-compliant, joining various other services, including Compute Engine, Cloud Storage, and BigQuery. As a company missive explains, these services are covered by a HIPAA Business Associate Agreement (BAA), so while there is no formal certification process, the company has undergone various independent audits to assess compliance, with the complete list of services covered by the BAA including ISO 27001, 27017 and 27018.

Alongside this, Google rolled out a list of customers who are actively involved in its healthcare cloud. Many are utilising Apigee, Google’s API management platform, including The Chilean Health Ministry, Cleveland Clinic, and Rush University Medical Center, with several exploring machine learning-based predictive models to give clinicians greater insights or to identify security threats.

“Ultimately, we hope that better flow of data will inspire new discoveries with artificial intelligence and machine learning, leading to insights that improve patient outcomes,” wrote Gregory J. Moore, Google Cloud vice president of healthcare.

Regular readers will be aware that Google likes to illustrate product announcements with a sampling of customers, whether it’s launching a private ‘on-ramp’ network connection to its cloud or preemptible GPUs. Yet you can add Spotify and Apple to Google’s increasingly-impressive list of flagship customers.

Spotify’s custom was revealed in its recent IPO filing – on page 30 to be precise, deep into the list of risks the company has to provide to investors. “Currently, we are in the process of transitioning all of our data storage (including personal data of users and music data licensed from rights holders) and computing from our own servers to [Google Cloud Platform],” the filing reads. “We cannot easily switch our GCP operations to another cloud provider… while the consumer side of Google competes with us, we do not believe that Google will use the GCP operation in such a manner as to gain competitive advantage against our service.”

Confirmation that Apple was a Google customer – as well as a customer of AWS – was buried even deeper, in a January update to its iOS Security Guide. First spotted by CNBC, page 16, focusing on iCloud, explains after files are broken into chunks and encrypted, they are stored ‘without any user-identifying information, using third-party storage services, such as S3 and Google Cloud Platform.’

One of the key themes this publication has explored over the past year is how Google has secured larger, blue riband cloud customers. At Next last year, three of the company’s announced customers, Verizon, Colgate-Palmolive and eBay, were ranked in the Fortune 500.

You can read the full healthcare announcements here.

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