Amidst the launch of Google Play Music All Access, Google Play Game Services, updates to Google Maps and a variety of other consumer-driven product announcements, the news about the general availability of Google Compute Engine seems to be getting lost. Or maybe people simply aren't surprised, as this is something the industry has been expecting for some time.

Whatever the case, Google (NASDAQL GOOG) has finally made good on the promise of the official launch of its cloud platform that is intended to take on Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) Web Services and other cloud platform providers. According to a blog post by Urs Hölzle, Google Cloud Platform's senior vice president, in addition to the general availability of Compute Engine, the company has also introduced new and enhanced features to the cloud platform, including:

  • Sub-hour billing charges for instances in one-minute increments with a 10-minute minimum, so customers don't have to pay for compute minutes they don't use.
  • Shared-core instances provide smaller instance shapes for low-intensity workloads.
  • Advanced touting features to help customers create gateways and VPN servers, and enable them to build applications that span the local network and Google's cloud.
  • Large persistent disks support up to 10TB per volume, which translates to 10 times the industry standard.

Additionally, Google also used the I/O 2013 conference to release App Engine 1.8.0 with a limited preview of PHP runtime, which Hölzle noted is a top requested feature. As one of the most popular web programming languages, PHP will enable Google App Engine users to power open source applications such as WordPress, which requires PHP. The latest version of App Engine also includes deeper integration with Google Cloud SQL and Google Cloud Storage.

Last but certainly not least, Hölzle announced Google Cloud Datastore, a fully managed and schema-less offering for storing non-relational data. It's based on App Engine High Replication Datastore, but is being offered as a standalone service with automatic scalability and high-availability features.

"With these improvements, we have seen increased usage with over 3 million applications and over 300,000 unique developers using Cloud Platform in a given month. Our developers inspire us every day, and we can't wait to see what you build next," Hölzle concluded in his blog post.