Former Oracle executive Thomas Kurian joined Google Cloud as CEO in November, replacing Diane Greene. Kurian indicated at a conference in February he is looking to invest and expand the business significantly, saying, "You will see us accelerate the growth even faster than we have to date."
Google parent company Alphabet has already invested in Looker through its venture fund, Capital G. It will be Google's biggest acquisition since it bought smart home company Nest, another Alphabet-funded company, for $3.2 billion in 2014.
Google has been trying to gain market share from industry leader Amazon Web Services, which reported $7.7 billion in revenue for the last quarter. Google does not break out revenue for its cloud business but has said it brings in more than $1 billion per quarter between its public cloud and cloud apps. Google had 7.6% of the cloud market share at the end of 2018 compared with 13.7% for Microsoft and 32% for Amazon, according to a report from Canalys.
The purchase of Looker will add a new analytics tool for Google Cloud's customers. Google said the technology will help its customers analyze their data in a consistent way across different sources and help Google provide industry-specific analytics for its targeted verticals. Google said in its press release that it already shared over 350 customers through an existing partnership, including BuzzFeed, Yahoo and Hearst.
Looker's business-intelligence tool works on multiple clouds in addition to Google's and integrates with other databases that compete with Google's own products. Kurian said on a conference call with journalists on Thursday that Looker will continue to work with other products, like Amazon Web Services' Redshift and Microsoft's Azure SQL Server. Looker competitors include Domo and Tableau, along with Microsoft's Power BI and AWS' QuickSight.
The acquisition follows Google's announcement of its Anthos product, which enables businesses to run computing workloads on multiple clouds.