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March 10, 2017

Cloud Wars: Google Cloud just made a lot of its services free to use

Google Cloud expands its Free Tier, lowers price and releases a tonne of new products and services.

By James Nunns

The good thing about the cloud vendors is that they never stop trying to out-do each other, or ‘better serve their customers.’

What this means is that there’s a constant stream of new features and services for users to get their teeth into.

The latest batch of features and services comes from Google, specifically the Google Cloud Platform and App Engine. The company is releasing into general availability what it is calling a “major expansion of App Engine centred around openness and developer choice.”

Basically, Google is adding support for code from Node.js, Ruby, Java 8, Python 2.7 or 3.5, Go 1.8, plus PHP 7.1 and .NET Core. The company also said that users can go beyond these managed runtimes and add in their own Docker container in order to run any language or framework on App Engine.

Brian Stevens, Vice President, Cloud Platforms, Google, said: “The future of cloud is open: take your app to-go by having App Engine generate a Docker container containing your app and deploy it to any container-based environment, on or off GCP. App Engine gives developers an open platform while still providing a fully managed environment where developers focus only on code and on their users.”

There’s also news from the company when it comes to Google Cloud Functions, which was announced last year, the service is now moving into public beta.

Cloud Functions is basically a serverless code platform that allows users to build and connect cloud services without having to manage any infrastructure. If that sounds familiar that’s because Amazon Web Services has a very similar offering in AWS Lambda.

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Stevens said that this is the smallest unit of compute offered by GCP and that billing will only occur while the function is executing and will be metered to the nearest one hundred milliseconds.

Cloud Functions is said to be good for building lightweight backends and for extending the functionality of existing services and the company reckons it’ll also be a great option for mobile developers using Firebase because they can build backends integrated with the Firebase platform.

That’s not the end of the new releases as Google also decided to expand its BigQuery service with the public beta of the BigQuery Data Transfer Service. This will automate data movement from some Google applications directly into BigQuery. The good news for marketers is that integrations with Adwords, DoubleClick and YouTube have been added.

For those of you worried about the amount of time it takes to import data into BigQuery and the security of it, there’s now Google Cloud Dataprep. A serverless browser-based service that Google says can, “dramatically cut the time it takes to prepare data for analysis.”

It’s clear that Google now means business when it comes to the cloud, it’s sorted it’s messaging out since Diane Greene came on board and has been far more proactive in adding enterprise friendly applications and services to the Google Cloud Platform.

The company’s also been on somewhat of a spending spree and that’s likely to continue with the announcement of three new GCP regions in California, Montreal and the Netherlands.

With all this money being spent, Google needs to get more customers into its platform and keep them there. To sweeten the deal it’s offering Committed Use Discounts. This will provide up to 57% off the list price on Google Compute Engine, as long as you sign up for a one or three year purchase commitment.

Read more: UK cloud wars intensify as Microsoft lowers prices & releases Azure data centre services

If that wasn’t enough then Google is also extending the free trial of its Free Tier, from 60 days to 12 months, so that the $300 credit can be used across all GCP services and APIs. Compute Engine is also getting a price cut, these will vary by region, and will see US customers have a 5% price drop, customers in Europe a 4.9% drop and the Tokyo region an 8% drop.

More free things are also coming with Always Free. This will see Compute Engine, Cloud Pub/Sub, Google Cloud Storage and Cloud functions added to the Always Free product range. It gives developers non-expiring usage limits that can be used to test and develop applications at no cost.

There are limits though so you’ll want to take a look at this. 

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