Google Cloud and Orange team up as cloud-telco cauldron continues to bubble

James has more than a decade of experience as a tech journalist, writer and editor, and served as Editor in Chief of TechForge Media between 2017 and 2021. James was named as one of the top 20 UK technology influencers by Tyto, and has also been cited by Onalytica, Feedspot and Zsah as an influential cloud computing writer.

Google Cloud and Orange have announced a strategic partnership utilising edge computing and artificial intelligence (AI) among others as Google’s European cloud expansion continues.

The deal, while under the partnership banner, can be seen more as another customer win chalked up for Google. Google will help ‘accelerate the transformation of Orange’s IT infrastructure and the development of future cloud services, in particular edge computing’, according to the press materials.

The partnership element comes in under the development of advanced cloud, edge, and cybersecurity services, which are aimed at exploring new business opportunities for both companies. Google Cloud and Orange will also create a joint innovation lab and a centre of excellence. The latter will enable Google Cloud support for Orange France, along with other Orange affiliates, during their cloud transformation process.

Like other deals of its kind, Google will train up ‘several thousand’ Orange employees in data, AI, and cloud services.

The agreement ‘reinforces Orange’s commitment, as set out in its Engage 2025 plan, to drive its internal transformation through the innovative and widespread use of AI and data in order to improve operational efficiency and the customer experience’, as the company put it.

Statements attributed to CEOs in these announcements are usually dry affairs. Yet the words from Orange chief executive Stephane Richard unearthed a nugget, saying Google was ‘eager’ to invest ‘especially’ in France to develop new data centres. “Orange is a pioneer of digital transformation and is pleased to partner with Google to accelerate its data and AI transformation and continue towards a better service for its customers,” Richard added.

Google Cloud’s list of proposed data centre openings includes Paris, as well as further European sites in Italy, Poland and Spain. Its recent customer wins, from Renault, to Deutsche Bank, to Telefonica, have also had a distinctly European feel to them.

While the company’s three primary customer pillars of retail, healthcare and financial services remain, telecoms is a continued interest. Alongside Telefonica, it was announced earlier this month that Verizon would use Google Cloud’s AI expertise for its contact centre.

Read more: Google Cloud Next OnAir analysed: Customers, confidentiality, and competing above the compute stack

Photo by Alice Pasqual on Unsplash

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