Thursday, Jul 01, 2021, 14:00 Web

iCloud Data On Google Servers: Apple Relying More & More On Google Cloud

In the industry, it's frequently said that Google is one of Apple's biggest customers – given the billion-dollar search engine deal the company has going with Apple. Google pays Apple more than 10 billion dollars each year so that Safari continues to use the Google search engine (meaning more business for Google from Apple customers). On the same hand, however, Apple is also one of Google's biggest customers when it comes to Google's business cloud storage service – meaning a steady exchange of cash between Cupertino and Mountain View. According to a recent report, Apple will be paying Google around 300 Million US$ this year alone for the hosting of iCloud data on Google Cloud. Although that 300 million is only a fraction of what Apple earns from Google, as per the two companies' search engine deal, it's enough for Google employees to refer to the company as "Bigfoot".

Apple – Google Cloud's Biggest Customer
As per The Information, Apple is now relying even more heavily on Google, using the Google Cloud service about 50% more than last year – where Apple is said to be storing about 8 million terabytes worth of data. That makes Cupertino Google's biggest customer – outdoing even streaming services such as Spotify. Although Apple also operates computer and data centers, the company has had difficult keeping up with its own rapid expansion. According to the report, the amount of data that Apple is handling is growing at a rate more quickly than the company is able to keep up with in terms of hosting hardware.

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Too Much Data For Apple's Infrastructure
Sarting in the early days of iCloud, Apple has always relied on a combination of internal and external hosting services from companies such as Google, Amazon, and Microsoft. This means that some user data and especially photos (because of the large amount of space they take up) are stored on external servers. Google Cloud, Amazon AWS & S3, as well as Microsoft Azure all play important roles in the operation of Apple's iCloud service and others.

Apple's Safety Precautions
According to official statements, all sorts of data including contacts, calendar data, photos, videos, and documents can all be stored on the external servers. However, Apple asserts that individual data is chopped up into "chunks" and encrypted with AES-128. Should anyone even manage to break or hack into a server, they'd only be able to access a non-sensical jumble of data. The metadata and relevant keys are all stored elsewhere. Thus, it's not possible for even the host to gain access to user data or to draw conclusions about the identities of users.

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