Google has finally opened up its new cloud-computing service to business and individual customers everywhere—which looks to be great news for them, and potentially real trouble for current cloud leader Amazon.
In much the same way that Microsoft long ago became the de facto standard for PC software at the expense of IBM, Google is angling to upend the market for cloud computing by making it widely available, easy to use and inexpensive. On Monday, it formally unveiled the Google Compute Engine services it launched for developers a year and a half ago, and which had remained in "developer preview" ever since. Google's service competes directly with Amazon’s cloud computing platform, dubbed Elastic Compute Cloud or EC2.
Cloud-based services became popular in the late 2000s as start up companies and small businesses looked for ways to avoid buying thousands of computer servers and services contracts. Business divisions most likely using cloud services today include human resources, payroll, marketing, sales, and product development.