Google Cloud IoT Core is a “fully managed service that allows you to easily and securely connect, manage, and ingest data from millions of globally dispersed devices” says Google Cloud. Only from August 16, 2023, those millions of devices will need another platform to support them as Google kills off the service.
The company has started emailing customers to say bluntly that in 12 months time "your access to the IoT Core Device Manager APIs will no longer be available. As of that date, devices will be unable to connect to the Google Cloud IoT Core MQTT and HTTP bridges and existing connections will be shut down."
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Google launched the service in beta in 2017, targeting smart city and enterprise deployments like utilities and transportation. ZDNet described it in 2018 as "already in use in industries like transportation, oil and gas, utilities, and healthcare" although case studies from customers are a little hard to come by.
The Google Cloud IoT Core managed service went GA in early 2018. Over the years various companies ompanies have even shipped dedicated hardware kits for those looking to build Internet of Things (IoT) products around the managed service. (It was not immediately clear to The Stack how many customers it had...)
One user told us: "I use Google IoT mainly as a hobbyist / experimenting and building skills I hope to use professionally one day. Bit annoying they are discontinuing as the IoT product is pretty easy to use and very easy to publish events with your device data that can be picked up by other GCP products like Firebase / Cloud Functions.
Pretty certain I'll be able to move it somewhere else, but no doubt will need to sort something out for the event publishing. From the device perspective it's not TOO big a deal, obviously everything will need new certificates but otherwise will just need a new set of MQTT connection creds which isn't too big a deal."
They added: "Refreshing certificates and the ability to update env details automatically is something on my to do list, but you'd assume that larger users will already have something in place for this so not TOO big a deal. But, it's just annoying and less tidy that you won't be able to keep everything in one place like you can right now... I expect it'll be enough for some to at least evaluate moving their stack elsewhere..."
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Unfortunately for Google, the move feeds into a steady narrative (fine example here) that the company’s already hugely loss-making cloud services can not be trusted to have longevity.
(Unfamiliar with “Killed by Google”? See the list here…)
Google’s cloud losses meanwhile hit a giddy $858 million in Q2, largely on Google’s increased spending on data centres: the company insists it is committed to continuing to compete with fellow hyperscalers AWS and Azure.
The Stack has contacted several organisations who have discussed using Google Cloud IoT Core on a range of forums for their views, and will update this piece.
The risk -- if it turns out that the managed service has actual bona fide customers at scale -- is that they’ve baked the service into devices that they’ve sold to customers, whether that’s smart home devices, or something in the industrial space, and these are about to be bricked, at scale, unless they are paying close attention and managing their fleets proactively.
Google Cloud told us: "Since launching IoT Core, it has become clear that our customers’ needs could be better served by our network of partners that specialize in IoT applications and services."
A spokesperson added: "We have worked extensively to provide customers with migration options and solution alternatives, and are providing a year-long runway before IoT Core is discontinued" with the company adding that it is working with a number of key partners to "provide IoT customers with migration options and high-quality solution alternatives to IoT Core".
Are you a Google Cloud IoT Core user? Get in touch to share your views.