Following Microsoft’s and Amazon’s investments in Greece, Google is also proceeding with the development of state-of-the-art infrastructure and a regional cloud service hub.
An official announcement on Google’s investment plan is scheduled to be made on Thursday by Google Cloud International President Adaire Fox-Matin during a meeting with Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
The project is set to turn Greece into one of the few countries in the world outside of North America where the three largest cloud service multinationals will have a local presence with infrastructure.
Judging from the ever-increasing presence of extensive cloud infrastructures and other groups in Greece, such as Lamda Hellix, which was acquired by Digital Realty, Greek officials say that the country enjoys the technological infrastructure, services, and speed it needs to digitally transform the public and private sectors and also support the digital transformation of the entire Southeastern European region.
Google’s investment in a data center infrastructure in Greece is valued at hundreds of millions of euros according to estimations.
Data centers are used to store, process, and share large amounts of data with users while cloud computing refers to the provision of computing resources via the Internet (e.g. servers, apps) through the use of central systems located far out of reach of the final user. Automated processes enable systems to reach users in order to provide a variety of services and connection flexibility.
Matt Brittin, Google’s President for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa Business and Operations, said in speaking with Kathimerini in July that in terms of the investment in the Greek market: ”We continue to stand firmly by Greece and small and medium-sized enterprises and support them as much as possible.’’
He adds that “through our tools, services, investments, and educational programs, we seek to make people’s lives easier and better and contribute to the country’s path towards sustainable development.”
During the 2022 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Brittin met with Mitsotakis and discussed the prospect of increasing Google’s investments in Greece, as well as the available utilization tools that Google has in the country for digital training and the establishment of entrepreneurship programs, especially in the sector of tourism.
Google’s new unit will place an emphasis on the state as well as on small and medium-sized enterprises.
Google will follow Microsoft’s biggest investment in Greece
Greece’s state agency Enterprise Greece gave its approval in April to fast-track a one hundred million euros ($110 million) Microsoft investment project for three data centers in the country.
The data centers will be located at Spata and Koropi in the Attica region and provide technical business support and cloud computing services to Greece. It is also expected that three hundred new jobs will be created over the next ten years.
Microsoft has been operating in Greece since 1992 and maintains about two hundred data centers in thirty-four countries, interconnected by more than 165,000 miles of submarine, land, and metropolitan areas of fiber optics. Microsoft Cloud already serves at least one billion customers and twenty million companies worldwide.
“The implementation of this investment is of great importance for the Greek economy as it expands the country’s information and communication technologies sector and capabilities, and confirms that the Greek ICT industry offers unique opportunities for investment in value-added services with a global reach,” Ioannis Smyrlis of Enterprise Greece said.
“An investment in a data center in any country, by a technology giant such as Microsoft, automatically upgrades the country as an investment destination,” he added.
In 2021, Greece and Microsoft also announced “Ancient Olympia: Common Grounds,” a new collaboration to digitally preserve and restore ancient Olympia, the original home of the Olympic games, using AI.
This digital revival project allows viewers around the world to explore ancient Olympia as it stood over two thousand years ago through an immersive experience via an interactive mobile app, a web-based desktop experience, or a Microsoft HoloLens 2 exhibition at the Athens Olympic Museum.
Amazon’s high-tech investment in Greece
Amazon Web Services announced last December that it will be creating thirty new AWS Local Zones across the world, including in Greece.
AWS Local Zones are a form of AWS infrastructure deployment that provides computation, storage, and other cloud services closer to customers, which allows them to run applications using AWS so that their end users can experience their products faster.
While speaking with Michael Punke, the AWS vice president for global public policy, Mitsotakis stressed that Greece is changing rapidly and becoming a hub for investments in high technology. He said it was very encouraging that major global players were choosing Greece as a place to establish a permanent presence.
He also maintained that the investment was “one more vote of confidence in the prospects of the Greek economy” and spoke about the great efforts being made towards the digitalization of the Greek state.
“We have a ‘cloud first’ policy, and we intend to establish Greece as a center for data storage,” he said. “The government is fully aligned to support this vision, and I am very happy that you are responding to this and that you will significantly increase your presence in Greece.”
According to a government announcement, Greece will be the site of one of eleven AWS Local Zones that the company is planning to establish in Europe. This confirms the country’s position as a regional technology hub, where major companies make strategic investments in infrastructure. Such investments will support the fourth industrial revolution and the economy of the future.