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Google’s Secret Weapon in Database Wars

Looking for ways to better compete with Amazon Web Services, engineers at Google Cloud Platform have tested how to turn an internal database technology called Spanner into a product it can sell to developers, according to two people briefed on the effort. Spanner is now used to power many Google consumer products.

The tests are part of a broader effort by Google to do a better job of commercializing the idiosyncratic but advanced technology its engineers have developed to use at Google. Google’s engineers often write research papers with detailed descriptions of the company’s technology, which has prompted outsiders to try to make money off it.

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To commercialize Spanner, Google will have to overcome one big problem, which is that the technology is very tightly integrated with all of Google’s proprietary hardware and software systems.