Google Cloud Migration Helps Etsy Tap Machine Learning

Etsy is planning to move workloads away from its data centers to the public cloud as part of a two-year Google Cloud migration plan, announced this week.

Etsy, the online handmade marketplace, said its Google Cloud migration will help its engineers focus on adding new features that improve the buyer and seller experience. Some of these improvements are likely to come as Etsy taps Google’s machine learning and big data tools.

With the Google Cloud migration, Etsy engineers can focus on product engineering work that is strategic, and move away from maintenance of on-premise systems.

The news of its Google Cloud migration comes as Etsy has banded with other companies to reject a plan from the Trump administration to subsidize coal-fired power plants. Etsy used 10,679 megawatt-hours last year in its data centers, and its electricity costs would rise significantly if the plan went through. Etsy said it chose Google in part because of its commitment to 100 percent renewable energy. 

"Moving to Google Cloud Platform is a transformational change for Etsy. We believe that it positions us well for growth by allowing us to focus on strategic initiatives, enhance site performance, and improve engineering efficiency. Google's infrastructure also enables us to better prioritize technologies like machine learning to personalize the user experience on Etsy," Mike Fisher, Etsy's Chief Technology Officer said in a statement. "With Google Cloud Platform we can focus on what matters most -- continuing to build Etsy into the best marketplace for our buyers and sellers."

Machine learning can help merchants learn about user preferences, which is particularly useful in the context of a marketplace like Etsy, where there more than 40 million unique listings. Etsy has already made investments in machine learning, particularly how it is applied to its search function, through technology and its acquisition of Blackbird Technologies in 2016.

"We are thrilled to be working closely with Etsy in this new chapter of their innovation story," PH (Paul-Henri) Ferrand, President, Global Customer Operations, Google Cloud said. "Our engineering teams are collaborating to not just transition Etsy's infrastructure to Google Cloud, but help them take advantage of the world-class machine learning and analytics our open, secure platform offers."

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