Using locust.io, I've seen that my current site on two $10/month Linodes can scale up to approximately 300k people/day and increasing that substantially just means I press a button and upgrade my app/database servers.
If it came to a point where I was growing at a pace I didn't want to manage and money was flowing in, and I was out of ideas on software optimization, only then I would consider spending tens of thousands/month on AWS.
I'm not denying the great benefits AWS gives, I honestly would love to use it now and just be done with most of my devop headaches, but the costs are prohibitive.
Picture a continuum between brain-dead simple websites and business-critical complex websites:
simple: static website, WordPress blog
moderate: small business CMS, etc
complex: Netflix, AirBNB
On the other end of the spectrum, you want to run a high-availability website with failover across multiple regions like Netflix. You need the value-added "services" of a comprehensive cloud provider (the "I" and "S" in "IaaS" as in "Infrastructure Services"). For that scenario, there are currently 4 big competitors: AWS, MS Azure, Google Compute Cloud, and IBM SoftLayer. However, many observers see that Google and IBM are not keeping pace with AWS and Azure on features so at the moment, it's more of a 2 horse race than a 4.
Keep in mind that the vast majority of cost comparisons showing AWS to be overpriced are based on comparing Amazon's EC2 vs bare metal. The EC2 component is a small part of the complete AWS portfolio. If you're doing more complicated websites, you have to include the costs of Linux admins + devops programmers to reinvent what AWS has out of the box. (The non-EC2 services.) Even if you use OpenStack as a baseline for a "homegrown AWS", you'll still need extensive staffing to configure and customize it for your needs. It may very well turn out that homegrown on Linode is cheaper but most articles on the web do not have quality cost analysis on the more complicated business scenarios. Anecdotes yes! But comprehensive unbiased spreadsheets with realistic cost comparisons?!? No.
I use it for dev / early projects and as things get complex or need more redundancy I make the production spend on AWS.
Just saying that calling 90% of Google Cloud's products to be far better than AWS (or any equivalent provider for that matter) is bold.
And no the ability to run it yourself on Google is not the same.
Here's a material answer - https://cloud.google.com/docs/google-cloud-platform-for-aws-...
In short, Google has parity with AWS on many fronts, and exceeds AWS on many others. Only material AWS advantage at this point is full IAM. Biggest thing you gotta remember is AWS is stuck in "VM" world and only slightly deviates from that. Google's advantage is in its fully managed services, which AWS does poorly (don't tell me Redshift is "fully managed").
Google has Bigtable, which AWS has no competitor for. Google's Pubsub is vastly superior to SQS. Google doesn't need Firehose because Google's services scale to Firehose levels without needing a new product and a new price. Google has Zync transcoder service.
Google has BigQuery, which is vastly superior to Redshift in price, performance, scale, and manageability. Google has Dataflow, which AWS has no competitor for.
Even for VMs, Google offers better networking, faster disks, more reliability (live migration), better load balancer, etc.
And to put the cherry on top, Google's no-committment, no-contract price is only beat if you lock yourself into AWS's 3-year contract.
(disclaimer: work on BigQuery)
You know what would be a cool idea: if Google developed a method of copying an Amazon Machine Image (AMI) to Google Cloud. That would give us an easy way to try out our same servers at Google without having to rebuild everything, as we do not use containers yet.
I think the net cost of an extra personnel (a server admin) in a startup team, is more than the cost of the server.
If anything, I see a lot of people choose AWS for 'scalability' concerns when they never end up needing to scale.