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the dalles oregon
The Dalles, Oregon. (Via Google Maps.)

Google Cloud Platform today opened its first West Coast cloud region, named us-west1, in The Dalles, Ore.

Testing shows the new region will offer West Coast customers a latency drop of 30-80 percent compared to running their applications from us-central1, located in Council Bluffs, Iowa, Google said. Until now, us-central1 has been the Google region closest to the West Coast.

Us-west1 will initially offer three services: Compute Engine, Cloud Storage and Container Engine. The new region will contain two Compute Engine zones, each independent from the other and equipped with its own power, cooling, networking and controls.

Google Cloud Platform also has regions in the Eastern U.S., in South Carolina; in Western Europe, in Belgium; and in East Asia, in Taiwan. Each of those regions has three zones.

Though each of the big three cloud providers — Google, Microsoft and Amazon — defines its regions somewhat differently, Google clearly lags far behind both Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services in worldwide geographic distribution, and this is part of its effort to catch up.

Google also announced the open beta of its Natural Language and Speech APIs. The Natural Language API reveals the structure and meaning of text, initially in English, Japanese and Spanish. It’s useful for analyzing the sentiment of newspaper stories, transcribed customer phone calls or online product reviews, Google said. The Speech API provides speech-to-text conversion in more than 80 languages, the company said.

Open beta means the product is largely free of bugs, more or less complete and available at no charge.

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