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Google claims it is GDPR ready

Alphabet, the parent company of Google, says that since its advertising business relies on keyword searches, the impact of GDPR is limited

Google’s parent company, Alphabet, has spent the last 18 months preparing for GDPR, the company’s executives revealed during a financial results earnings call.

In a transcript of the Q1 2018 earnings call posted on the Seeking Alpha financial blogging site, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said: “We started working on GDPR compliance over 18 months ago and have been very engaged on it.”

The company reported a revenue of $31.1bn for the three months ending March 31 2018, compared with revenue of $24.8bn for the same period in 2017.

“We care about getting it right. We have long had a robust and strong privacy program at Google, too. So we are committed to meeting requirements on May 25 and also long term,” he said, responding to a question from a Goldman Sachs analyst about GDPR. “We are working very closely with advertisers, publishers and our partners.”

When asked by RBC Capital Markets if GDPR or other regulation could materially impact the ability of advertisers to using Google to target customers, Pichai said: “Most of our ad business is Search, where we rely on very limited information – essentially what is in the keywords to show a relevant ad or product.”

As part of its efforts, he said Google will be updating all its user privacy policies and controls worldwide. “It’s a big effort. We are very focused on getting it right by our users and partners, and that’s where our focus is now.”

Cloud business growth

During the call, Pichai discussed the success Google has had with its G-Suite office productivity suite, claiming the product is now able to serve all the needs of a large enterprise. He highlighted security as one of the key factors driving enterprise adoption.

“We believe our secure environment is an important factor in driving enterprise customer wins. G-Suite customers such as Colgate-Palmolive Company tell us no one offers a better combination of hardware, network and data security.”

Read more about Google’s privacy

  • Google will use machine learning and automated peer review scans to improve Android app privacy and limit app permissions overreach.
  • A data-sharing agreement between a Google-owned firm and the Royal Free NHS trust raises privacy concerns, despite assurances that Google cannot use the data.

“The fundamental drivers of adoption of Google Cloud based on what we hear back from customers is our advantage in data analytics and machine learning and the fact that we really support open, agile development environment,” said Pichai.

Kubernetes has become the standard for workloads,” he added, and claimed Google’s security was a differentiator in the market. “Security is becoming a big differentiator for us and something we've been leading for a while,” he said.

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