Why we believe in an open cloud

Openness enables faster innovation, tighter security, and offers freedom from vendor lock-in. Google believes openness matters more in the cloud than ever.

Open is about the power to pick up and move your app

An open cloud is grounded in a belief that being tied to a particular cloud shouldn’t get in the way of achieving your goals. An open cloud embraces the idea that the power to deliver your apps to different clouds while using a common development and operations approach will help you meet whatever your priority is at any given time — whether that’s making the most of skills shared widely across your teams or rapidly accelerating innovation. Open source is an enabler of open clouds because open source in the cloud preserves your control over where you deploy your IT investments. For example, customers are using Kubernetes to manage containers and TensorFlow to build machine learning models on premises and on multiple clouds.

Open source is a continuum

Here are examples of Google’s commitment to OSS and the varying levels of work required:

  • OSS such as Android has an open code base and development is the sole responsibility of one organization
  • OSS with community-driven changes such as TensorFlow involves coordination between many companies and individuals
  • OSS with community-driven strategy, for example Linux and Kubernetes, involves collaborative decision-making and accepting consensus over control

Open source software permits a richness of thought and continuous feedback loop with users

Open source is so important to Google that we call it out twice in our corporate philosophies and we encourage employees, and in fact all developers, to engage with open source.

Using BigQuery to analyze GHarchive.org data, we found that in 2017, over 5,500 Googlers submitted code to nearly 26,000 repositories, created over 215,000 pull requests, and engaged with countless communities through almost 450,000 comments. A comparative analysis of Google’s contribution to open source provides a useful relative position of the top-contributing companies in open source based on normalized data.

Googlers are active contributors to popular projects you may have heard of including Linux, LLVM, Samba, and Git.

Google has been a fantastic partner so far and I've been extremely impressed with their commitment to engage heavily with the community in a project that they did not initiate.

- Matt Klein, Engineer, Lyft

Google regularly open sources some of our best internal projects

Top Google-initiated projects include:

Google is committed to the use of open APIs

Open APIs preserve everyone’s ability to build on each other’s work, improving software iteratively and collaboratively. Open APIs empower companies and individual developers and to change service providers at will. Peer-reviewed research shows that open APIs drive faster innovation across the industry and in any given ecosystem. Open APIs depend on the right to reuse established APIs by creating independent-yet-compatible implementations. Google Cloud is committed to supporting open APIs via our membership in the Open API Initiative, involvement in the Open API specification, support of gRPC, and via Cloud Bigtable compatibility with the HBase API, Cloud Spanner and BigQuery compatibility with SQL:2011 (with extensions), and Cloud Storage compatibility with shared APIs.

Watch the day-three keynote about openness from Google Cloud Next 2017

Open source spotlight


Open source system for container orchestration

Google dedicated over 12 years of research and development resources to Kubernetes, and then made it completely open source. That combination of tight, directed engineering, openness, and community building has helped make Kubernetes one of the most active projects on GitHub, with more than 45,000 commits and 1,500 contributors — and counting. This astounding rate of innovation is only possible thanks to the cross industry collaboration and leadership in the Kubernetes community. Learn more about the Kubernetes open source project and about Google Kubernetes Engine, our managed service that’s the best environment for deploying containerized applications.


Open source library for machine learning

Since Google open-sourced it in 2015, TensorFlow has become the #1 machine learning community on GitHub, and the de facto machine learning toolkit. This project is important for mankind, so we knew we had to open source it to enable everyone to openly collaborate on it. Learn more about the TensorFlow open-source project and about our managed service, Google Cloud Machine Learning Engine, which is simply the best way to take any TensorFlow model and perform large scale training on a managed cluster.


An open platform to connect microservices

Istio is an open platform that provides a uniform way to connect, manage, and secure microservices. Istio supports managing traffic flows between microservices, enforcing access policies, and aggregating telemetry data, all without requiring changes to the microservice code.


Android uses the latest Google innovations, from machine learning for virus detection and cloud security to artificial intelligence for smart, contextual assistance. Learn more on the Android Enterprise Mobility Management webpage.