Google’s cloud division lands deal with the Department of Defense

Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks on stage during the annual Google I/O developers conference in Mountain View, California, May 8, 2018.

  • Google Cloud has landed a deal with the Department of Defense, the company announced Wednesday.
  • The deal is in the seven figure range, Axios reported ahead of the release, making it a relatively small deal that shouldn’t move the needle too much for Google’s cloud business.
  • Following employee pushback, Google’s former cloud chief told employees in 2018 that the company would not renew a different Defense contract after it was set to expire in March 2019.

Google Cloud has landed a deal with the Department of Defense, the company announced Wednesday.

The deal is in the seven figure range, Axios reported ahead of the release.

The deal could thrust Google back into a controversial position. Google’s former cloud chief told employees in 2018 that the company would not renew a different defense contract called Project Maven after it was set to expire in March 2019. That announcement came after thousands of Google employees signed a letter urging their CEO to pull out of the contract and about a dozen resigned in protest. Project Maven used Google’s artificial intelligence technology to analyze satellite images taken by the DoD. Employees who protested the project at the time said Google should not be in the “business of war.”

The new contract, which is through the DoD’s Defense Innovation Unit (DIU), will be focused on identifying cyber threats, according to the release. Google said the system “will provide real-time network monitoring, access control, and full audit trails, enabling DIU to maintain its strict cloud security posture without compromising speed and reliability.”

The system, which will be centrally managed from Google’s console, will allow the DIU to run web services and applications across competing cloud services like those offered by Amazon and Microsoft.

Since the company said it would not renew Project Maven, Google had decided not to pursue a different $10 billion Defense contract known as the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) deal. Microsoft ultimately won that deal, but Amazon has challenged the decision in court.