Google buys Big Data firm Looker to bolster cloud offering
Google Cloud has announced the acquisition of American data company Looker, as it looks to catch up to rival cloud firms. The $2.6bn cash deal was first announced in June 2019, though it has only now passed regulatory hurdles.
The Santa Cruz-based Looker was founded in 2012, and offers a platform that it claims transcends traditional business intelligence, putting it in competition with the likes of offerings from Tableau (owned by Salesforce) and Microsoft’s Power BI. Customers include the likes of Candy Crush developer King and fintech firm Avant.
Looker’s CEO Frank Bien said: “We are extremely proud to join Google Cloud following a successful four-year partnership where we got to deeply understand the cultural similarities and technology synergies between the two companies. Joining Google Cloud provides us better reach, strengthens our resources, and brings together some of the best minds in both analytics and cloud infrastructure to build an exciting path forward for our customers and partners.”
The company’s cloud credentials were no doubt of particular interest to Google Cloud, with the platform featuring existing connections with Google Cloud Platform and Google’s Bigquery data warehouse, as well as solutions from the likes of Amazon.
Thomas Kurian, the CEO of Google Cloud, said in a blog post: “Google Cloud and Looker share a common philosophy around delivering open solutions and supporting customers wherever they are—be it on Google Cloud, in other public clouds, or on premises. As more organizations adopt a multi-cloud strategy, Looker customers and partners can expect continued support of all cloud data management systems like Amazon Redshift, Azure SQL, Snowflake, Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server and Teradata.”
The move signals Google’s intent in the cloud area, where it lags behind it’s fellow $1trn rivals, Amazon and Microsoft. In the recent quarterly results released by the companies, Google’s Q4 cloud business revenue reached $2.6bn, while Microsoft’s Q2 cloud revenue was $11.9bn.
Legend: John McAfee
John McAfee is credited with starting the entire cybersecurity industry. In 1987, he set up McAfee Associates and released VirusScan. Previous antivirus programs had been released, but McAfee’s was the first with mass appeal and was soon a day zero (or at least day one) installation for Windows users as well as corporate clients.
But McAfee was also a hugely divisive character. He dismissed his own software, claimed he never used it, and rejoiced when Intel bought McAfee and took his name off “the worst software on the planet.” He was anti-tax, pro-drugs, anti-war and pro-free trade. He was also a tireless crusader for cyber awareness, and set up a political party called the Cyber Party in order to make a bid for the office of president of the US.
“I am now everlastingly grateful to Intel for freeing me from this terrible association with the worst software on the planet”
McAfee: born in the UK
McAfee was born in Gloucestershire, UK, but moved to Salem, Virginia, where his American father (his mother was English) shot himself when McAfee was 15. McAfee worked at NASA, Univac, Xerox, Computer Sciences Corporation, Booz Allen Hamilton and Lockheed. It was while working at the latter he was given a copy of Brain, the first computer virus for PC, and began to engineer a defence.
Controversy dogged McAfee. He was implicated as a ‘person of interest’ in the search for a neighbour who had been shot. He married a prostitute. He claimed a cocaine baron was writing his biography. He was arrested for possession of an unlicensed weapon and for manufacturing drugs in Belize (later released without charge). There were various other arrests (mainly weapons related) but not much would stick until McAfee’s anti-tax stance caught up with him.
He fled the US as tax authorities turned up the heat on at least four years of non payment of tax and was arrested (again) in Spain in October 2020 at the behest of the US Department of Justice. Charges for fraudulently promoting cryptocurrencies were soon added and he was formally indicted in March 2021. In June 2021, the Spanish National Court authorised McAfee’s extradition to the US, and McAfee was found dead in his cell just hours later in what is widely believed to be a suicide.
Even in death, McAfee courted controversy, having announced that if he was ever found to have committed suicide, it would mean he had been murdered. A slew of conspiracy theories mushroomed in the hours after his death was announced. It’s just what he would have wanted.