Google Cloud Platform adds free tier

On the final day of the Google Next conference, Google stresses its commitment to openness.

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The tier gives limited access to 15 services. (Image: Google)

Stressing its fundamental commitment to openness, Google on Friday announced that it's adding a free tier to the Google Cloud Platform (GCP).

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The tier gives limited access to 15 services, including Google Compute Engine (1 f1-micro instance per month in US regions and 30GB-months HDD), Google Cloud Storage (5GB a month), Google Pub/Sub (10GB of messages a month), and Google Cloud Functions (two million invocations per month). Google is also offering $300 in trial credits to new users that will last for a year.

"This is what open development looks like to us," said Sam Ramji, VP of product development for Google Cloud, at the Google Next conference in San Francisco, Calif. The "open development stack" includes open APIs, open source and open clouds.

"We aim to be the best place to run open source stacks. An open cloud is home to an open ecosystem," Ramji said.

Eric Brewer, VP of infrastructure for Google, made the case that this offering could provide a business advantage for Google. He pointed to the Linux operating system as an example.

"Imagine you are in a new market... you have some really big competitors and they have a multi-year head start on you. That's what happened to Linux," he said. "Linux won because it was open, but really because it had a higher rate of innovation... Our strategy is be the open cloud, have the faster rate of innovation, have more collaboration, be the place collaboration occurs."

Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation, was also on hand to stress that "no organization that can independently keep up with the pace of development... Open source has become the new norm for software development."

He continued, "Open has become a new economic norm... The simple concept says all of us are smarter than any one of us. Anyone who does not harvest this great shared value... will fail."

Ramji also announced a new toolset called Project Kubo -- a collaborative, joint engineering effort between Google and Pivotal to deliver a highly-available, BOSH-managed Kubernetes environment. BOSH is Pivotal's tool for packaging, deploying and managing cloud software.

Google also announced a machine learning startup competition. It's open to early-stage startups in any vertical implementing machine learning (not just Google's). The prizes include $1 million of GCP credits, one-on-one engagement with Google engineers and G Suite seats. Several venture capital firms are supporting the contest as well, including Sequoia, Data Collective, Emergence Capital and Greylock Partners.

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