Cloud Computing Search Trends Show Growth and Plateau

There has been quite a bit discussion about the topic of Cloud Computing and specifically if interest was starting to wane. In discussions over the past year, I’ve used the term ‘cloud fatigue’ to describe how cloud came on strongly, but without a clear understanding of value, multiple issues are creating confusion. More clarity around direct business value from cloud computing is needed. This includes both top-line and bottom-line impact.

As a current benchmark, I was curious to see how the term ‘cloud computing’ was trending in Google searches. The results were surprising. The charts below were collected April 12, 2011.

Here are the Google search results for the term ‘cloud computing’ since 2004.

It appears that the term has had a steady climb, but is hitting a plateau of late. More on the plateau…or plateaus below. Further details revealed searches originating from India as the top country. The United States came in 7th behind India, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Ireland and Malaysia.

It is interesting to see the heavy interest from countries in Asia. The top states (or sub-regions) and cities were fascinating as well. Quincy, MA ranked top in the US well ahead of any other city.

In addition to the surprise in locations that generated the most interest, the data showed another interesting trend. Since 2004, interest has plateaued a few times. Steady growth was observed from 2004 until March 2009. Then growth plateaued for two quarters until October 2009. Afterward, growth continued again until November 2009. However, interest plateaued for another three quarters until June 2010. Then growth resumed again until September 2010. Since then, growth has essentially plateaued yet again.

It’s not clear what is driving these growth spurts followed by plateaus. One could map major announcements against the data. It’s not obvious that the data reveals seasonality either. Overall, normalization of the data does represent overall growth, but suggests a potential slow-down of interest in cloud computing. The slow-down could be attributed to cloud fatigue. Based on past plateaus, the next quarter should tell if growth resumes, continues flat or declines.

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