Google’s military cloud deal 

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google Cloud

On Thursday afternoon, at Google’s weekly meeting, Sundar Pichai and Thomas Kurian (CEO and cloud boss) attempted to address concerns about Google’s potential pursuit of a cloud deal (multibillion-dollar deal) with the Defense Department.

A proposal about Google’s involvement with the government’s JWCC (Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability) program got many votes from employees in Dory (an internal system) brought up to executives at the meeting.

 Pichai read the question referring to a New York Times report. That story stated that Google actively pursued the JWCC program after the Pentagon dropped a previous deal in July. The deal was the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) contract. Almost 1,000 employees voted after this question.

CNBC received audio of the event – TGIF and inspected a screenshot of the question.

While reading from the question on Dory, Pichai said that the NYT reported that Google was aggressively pursuing the DoD’s JWCC despite not bidding on JEDI (its predecessor). That is because it doesn’t go well with its AI principles of not working on weapons or technologies causing harm. Then he asked what the bid was about and why it seemed fine.

 

Kurdian’s comments

Kurian responded by differentiating the contract from JEDI. The contract was a $10 billion deal creating a legal battle between Microsoft and Amazon. This occurred before the government made the decision to cancel the contract entirely.

Kurian said that there had been some discussions concerning Google’s interest in engaging in the framework.

Google established its AI principles after refusing to renew Project Maven (a government contract), which supported the government in analyzing and interpreting drone videos applying artificial intelligence. Before finishing the deal, around 1,000 employees decided to sign a petition while others opposed Google’s involvement.

On Thursday, Kurian outlined how the DoD serves as the largest employer globally with approximately 3.1 million employees. He stated that the JWCC represents an acquisition framework within the DoD for the 28 central agencies. He also mentioned other work the company does for the U.S. government. They included providing agencies with weather predictions, supporting the Air Force with aircraft maintenance, and working with the military to identify cancer. Kurian and Pichai are operating a sensitive issue for the company. At the same time, Google is trying to support its cloud-computing division. Moreover, Google will provide it with high-profile deals while placating a politically charged employee base. Kurian said that Google Cloud should serve the government where it can do so and where the work meets the company’s principles and values.

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