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Google Cloud SVP Diane Greene talks about the company’s global infrastructure at the 2017 Google Next Conference. (Screenshot Via Youtube)

Google is on a mission to become a leading option for businesses making the shift to the cloud, and in the wake of the big Amazon Web Services outage last week, reliability is a hot topic.

Diane Greene, senior vice president who leads Google Cloud, kicked off the company’s three-day cloud conference Google Cloud Next this morning with some thoughts on security and reliability. She said Google Cloud operates at 99.9999 percent reliability and high availability, meaning the service is almost always on and available for use.

Google Cloud SVP Diane Greene talks cloud computing at the 2017 Google Next Conference. (Screenshot Via Youtube)

“We were recognized as having the highest availability of any cloud over the course of 2016,” Greene said. “I think 2017 will be promising, too,” she said, as people in the crowd chuckled at the veiled reference to the Amazon outage.

GeekWire has contacted Google to find out the source of the stat cited by Greene, and we will update this post when we hear back.

Update: Greene was citing data from Gartner’s CloudHarmony service, according to Business Insider. However, The Information reported last week that, even with last week’s outage, “AWS is far better at keeping its public cloud service running than either Microsoft or Google.”

Update II: Microsoft issued a statement questioning the portrayal of the numbers behind Green’s claim. Microsoft says comparing downtime alone doesn’t take into account the larger number of regions operated by Azure, which Microsoft says would provide a more accurate picture of cloud reliability, and show that “Azure reliability is in line with that of the other cloud providers measured.” Jason Read, the Gartner research vice president who founded CloudHarmony, agreed with that sentiment.

Google is well-known for its cloud technology, but the company has had less success in landing big cloud customers than Amazon and Microsoft have. At the event, however, Greene is bringing out executives from companies including Disney, SAP, Colgate Palmolive, Home Depot, Verizon, HSBC, and eBay to talk about their use of Google’s cloud. The company also cited Pokemon Go’s use of the Google Cloud platform.

“I really believe that the cloud with the best technology is the best cloud,” Greene said. “Technology is moving so fast, and you want to maintain that competitive advantage. But all of this technology needs phenomenal customer focus.”

Technical announcements at the event included the unveiling of a new Cloud Video Intelligence API, using machine learning to identify and automatically surface objects in videos based on keyword searches.

The company announced a new strategic partnership with SAP to integrate Google’s cloud solutions with SAP’s enterprise applications.

Also at the event, Google confirmed that it is acquiring Kaggle, a data science community for running machine learning competitions. The deal was first reported by TechCrunch last night.

In addition, Google Cloud announced a new engineering support program for customers.

Eric Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google parent company Alphabet, concluded his remarks at the event by stressing Google’s commitment to the cloud for businesses and developers. “We’re here for real. This is an incredibly serious mission,” he said. “The company has both the money, the means and the commitment to pull off a new platform of computation globally for everyone who needs it.”

He said Google’s approach “really will allow you both the freedom of choice — you won’t be locked in — but also the freedom to innovate.”

Last week, AWS’ Simple Storage Service went down for several hours, crippling big chunks of the internet. The company came out later in the week, saying the outage at data centers in its U.S. East region in Northern Virginia was caused by human error.

The outage underscored the need for redundancy in cloud storage, across multiple data center regions and possibly through multiple cloud providers as well. This could create an opening for companies like Google, which trail Amazon in the cloud market. A recent report indicated that Amazon owns a 40 percent market share, more than the combined influence of the next three closest competitors, Microsoft, Google and IBM.

Google Cloud Next continues Thursday with new product announcements — there will be “dozens of them,” Greene said — and Friday with developer, open-source and startup news.

Watch the archived livestream below.

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