Google today offered what was perhaps the most full-throated endorsement to date of its partner program, announcing additional investments, new technical specializations and a firm commitment to leveraging the ecosystem to drive adoption of its Google Cloud services.  

The initiatives were unveiled today in a blog post published to coincide with the eve of Next ’17, the annual homage to Google’s burgeoning cloud business, which gets underway Wednesday in San Francisco.

Partners were informed during a pre-conference gathering.

“We’re increasing our investment in many of our existing partner incentive programs, as well as introducing new incentives to support the entire customer lifecycle,” states the blog post, written by Google Cloud execs Bertrand Yansouni, vice president of global partner sales and strategic alliances; and Nan Boden, head of global technology partners.

The investments and incentives are aimed at helping drive enterprise adoption of Google Cloud services.

Public cloud has become a rapidly growing part of Google’s business, though it continues to trail tech giants Amazon Web ServicesMicrosoft Azure and IBM Cloud in market share.

Some observers of channel IT have questioned whether the proliferation of cheap cloud service and self-serve software tools will negatively impact the fortunes of IT services providers.

Those concerns were heightened in December, when AWS announced it was launching a managed services division.

Though that initiative is ostensibly aimed at large enterprises, some MSP experts noted that it wouldn’t be too difficult for AWS to expand that service down-market.

Right or wrong, Google had long been perceived as less partner-friendly than its cloud counterparts, making today’s announcement particularly significant.

“Google Cloud partners are essential to our commitment to help enterprises innovate faster, scale smarter and stay secure,” the blog states. “Partners deliver significant value to our customers, and we’re committed to supporting their success.”

Among the changes:

  • Sales training and product development credits will now be expanded to include all Google Cloud products.
  • Partner training and revenue goals will be expanded to include all cloud products.
  • New partner specializations have been established to recognize partners that demonstrate customer success and technical proficiency in various solution areas, including infrastructure, application development, data analytics and machine learning.
  • Low-interest loans will be made available for qualified partners.
  • Allowable uses of co-funding dollars will be expanded.  
  • In addition to existing reseller discounts for partners, a cash rebates program will be expanded and linked to partner growth, in an effort to encourage reinvestment.

Google also vowed additional business and product assistance for tech services providers later in 2017.

“Our partnering philosophy is driven by a set of principles that emphasize openness, innovation, fairness, transparency and shared success in the cloud market,” the blog states.

“Google’s commitment to this proposition has never been stronger,” it goes on. “We believe an ecosystem built on this foundation will help drive not only Google’s success and that of our partners, but help customers transform their businesses in the cloud and build what’s ‘Next.’”