Google will launch its Saudi Arabian cloud region this week.
“I'm thrilled to share an exciting milestone in Google Cloud's journey: the launch of our new cloud region in Saudi Arabia,” Anthony Cirot, Google Cloud’s EMEA South VP, posted on LinkedIn this week. “This marks a significant step forward in our commitment to empowering businesses and organizations in the Kingdom to embrace the digital era and transform their operations.”
Cirot links to a launch event scheduled for 15 November.
“A new cloud region has arrived to Saudi Arabia to help your business forge ahead, make smarter data-driven decisions, and scale to serve your customers better,” the invite notes. “With the availability of faster and more secure cloud infrastructure, innovation and rapid development will be within reach of every company.”
Details are lacking, but the region is based out of Dammam and set to be operated in partnership with the state-owned petrol-company, the world's largest producer of oil. Aramco’s logo isn’t included on the launch event landing page.
Google has come under fire for the partnership, which detractors say contradicts the technology company’s carbon goals by supporting an oil company. The cloud region has also been criticized by human rights groups, with 39 such organizations calling on the company to cancel the project due to Saudi Arabia's well-documented record of illegally surveilling its own citizens, and torture of dissidents.
Oracle has an existing cloud region in Jeddah that opened in 2020. The company has two further regions planned for Riyadh and the new Neom City. Huawei announced plans to launch a cloud region in Saudi Arabia early last year. Microsoft is also planning an Azure cloud region in Saudi Arabia.
In April, Google launched a cloud region in Doha, Qatar. The company is also planning another in Kuwait. Google launched its GCP cloud region in Tel Aviv in October 2022 after officially announcing plans to in April 2021.