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Google says it has tripled its big cloud deals over the last year

The number shows Google’s cloud business is growing, but doesn’t give us a good sense of how well it’s competing.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai Opens I/O Developer Conference Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Google scored three times as many large deals for its cloud service in the second quarter as it did in the same period last year, according to Google CEO Sundar Pichai.

He defined large deals as those greater than $500,000. The statistic, which he shared during Google parent company Alphabet’s earnings call, applied to all of Google’s cloud business. That means the growth refers to both Google Cloud Platform and Google’s productivity tools in G Suite.

“It does display the traction we’re having with cloud in the market,” Alphabet CFO Ruth Porat said of the statistic during the question and answer portion of the earnings call.

We don’t know exactly how many big deals Google had in Q2 of 2016, and executives were scant on other numbers when it comes to Google’s growing cloud business.

But cloud is likely the fastest growing business for Google, which for years has been looking for its next big bet after search advertising.

Google doesn’t break out cloud revenue, though it’s understood cloud makes up a large portion of the company’s “other,” or non-advertising, revenue. That “other business” increased 42 percent to $3.1 billion in the period, growing twice as fast as its main ad business. Ad sales gained 18 percent to $22.7 billion for the quarter.

Porat also said that among product areas, cloud accounted for “the most sizable headcount additions” from Alphabet’s 1,614 new hires in the last quarter. But she didn’t say what proportion of new hires were for cloud.

The problem with all these details is they don’t really help us better understand how Google cloud’s growth compares to competitors Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure, which come in first and second place respectively in terms of market share.

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