Google has launched a new datacenter hub in London, a move it says will reduce latency for its cloud services customers in Europe.

The new Google Cloud Platform (GCP) London datacenter region opened today, the tenth GCP region to open worldwide, with more planned in Frankfurt, the Netherlands and Finland.

Google says using London-based infrastructure to serve cloud customers in the UK will roughly halve latency, compared to the previous option of using Belgium-based infrastructure.

That reduction from about 8ms to 4ms latency “doesn’t sound like much”, said Ben Treynor Sloss, VP of engineering for Google, but when there are multiple interactions between on-premise and GCP infrastructure that speed-up can make a difference.

“If you have, let’s say, 50 back and forths that have to occur in order to service a user query or process a transaction, then suddenly you’ve gone from an 8ms difference to a 400ms difference, and that becomes perceptible for users.”

One of Google’s UK-based customers is the national newspaper The Telegraph, which uses both G Suite and a range of Google Cloud Platform’s infrastructure services.

“A big deal for people like us is speed. We have to be quick, we’ve got milliseconds on a device, there’s lots of choice [of news online],” said Toby Wright, CTO for The Telegraph.

“So one of the things we’ve built on top of [Google Cloud Platform services] BigQuery, Pub/Sub and [Cloud] Dataflow is a thing we call real-user measurement, which basically, in real time, can detect how fast things are loading on the page, like adverts and third-party components, and then do something about it if it’s not loading well.”

Having Google Cloud Platform’s London region to reduce latency between The Telegraph’s systems and Google’s benefits this real-user measurement system, said Wright, since “we make a lot of round trips to do that, so knocking out a few milliseconds is really important for us”.

Compute, storage, big data analytics and network services will be available in three zones within the London (europe-west2) region, and will be able to be deployed on a regional, multi-regional or global scale.

Google recently announced its global cloud infrastructure is compliant with the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which will take effect in May 2018.

“I am very grateful to Google for this vote of confidence in the UK,” said Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Karen Bradley, speaking at an event to launch GCP’s London region.

“Google’s decision to choose London for its latest Google cloud region is another vote of confidence in our world-leading digital economy.”

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