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Google Cloud Offers $250K in Cloud Credits to Generative AI Startups

As the provider plays catch-up to rivals like Azure, ISVs, consultancies and others have new opportunities.

Kelly Teal

March 14, 2023

4 Min Read
Google Cloud Offers $250K in Cloud Credits to Generative AI Startups

Google Cloud on Tuesday launched a series of generative AI initiatives, and one of them will give startup AI partners some key support.

The move comes as the world’s third-largest public cloud provider plays catch-up to rival Microsoft Azure, which has found a generative AI hit in ChatGPT.


Google Cloud’s Thomas Kurian

Google Cloud has worked in AI “for nearly 20 years now,” CEO Thomas Kurian told media on March 13. But observers worldwide have watched the company lag. Knowing that, Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google parent company Alphabet, said last month that Google Cloud would soon add more generative AI, including language models to Workspace apps such as Gmail and Docs. On Tuesday, Google Cloud did just that.

For partners, the opportunity lies in provisioning apps and services around these capabilities. To that end, Google Cloud introduced Built with Google Cloud AI. The initiative targets independent software vendors. It delivers training and co-marketing support as these partners go to market. Google Cloud also will make its engineering teams available to ISVs in the program. The engineers will help with product design, best practices and more. Initial Built with Google Cloud AI partners include Bending Spoons, Faraday, Glean, Replit and Tabnine.

Google Cloud Doubles Cloud Credits for Generative AI Startups

Meanwhile, Google Cloud is expanding a financial opportunity a variety of partners as it pursues its generative AI ambitions. AI startups from seed to series A now may take advantage of the Google for Startups Cloud Program. Here’s what that entails:

  • More cloud credits: “We’re offering AI-first startups up to $250,000 USD in cloud credits for their first year — two-and-a-half times the amount we typically offer startups in their first year,” wrote Kevin Ichhpurani, corporate vice president of global partner ecosystem and channels at Google Cloud, in a March 14 blog. “In their second year in the program, we’ll cover 20% of their cloud costs up to $100,000.”

  • Free customer care and support: Google Cloud now offers around-the-clock technical support as AI startups work with Google Cloud.

  • Access to Google Cloud experts and community: Participants can access various Google Cloud managers, engineers and networking events.

Consultancies, managed service providers, system integrators and similar partners can advise customers about generative AI and how to implement it, Ichhpurani wrote.


Google Cloud’s Kevin Ichhpurani

“They will play an equally essential role applying new generative AI capabilities to solve industry-specific challenges and helping enterprises build generative AI into their products and everyday business processes,” Ichhpurani wrote, referring to firms including Accenture, Deloitte and McKinsey.

Overall, he added, “we are dedicated to being the most open hyperscale cloud provider, and that includes our AI ecosystem. Through partnerships, we can help organizations more easily access and innovate with generative AI and large language models, apply fast-evolving AI and ML capabilities to address real industry use cases, and build a new wave of applications utilizing all of these capabilities.”

Where the Generative AI Applies

Google Cloud’s generative AI initiative spans a variety of domains. It encompasses Workspace, where apps such as Gmail and Docs will now feature the ability to write and summarize via AI prompts. This might represent the most relevant news for most Channel Futures readers. As Google Cloud has sought to better monetize Workspace against Microsoft Teams and similar products. As such, the company is leaning on consultancies, managed service providers, SIs and other partners. These partners can add their unique services and guidance to Workspace, while it provides the generative AI functionality.

In addition, Vertex AI is getting what Kurian called its biggest update ever, with a generative AI studio and model garden for developers and data scientists. MakerSuite is available, too, to “trusted testers,” Kurian said, who are building apps. There’s also Generative AI App Builder for developers creating bots, chats, internal and custom search engines, digital assistants and more.

Generative AI refers to algorithms that create outputs based on learned data, instead of perceived or classified data. Outputs can come in the form of text, code, audio, images, video and simulations. In the case of Google Meet, for example, look for live caption translations and transcripts in multiple languages some time this year.

Want to contact the author directly about this story? Have ideas for a follow-up article? Email Kelly Teal or connect with her on LinkedIn.


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About the Author(s)

Kelly Teal

Contributing Editor, Channel Futures

Kelly Teal has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist, editor and analyst, with longtime expertise in the indirect channel. She worked on the Channel Partners magazine staff for 11 years. Kelly now is principal of Kreativ Energy LLC.

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