Given the fact that it was announced last summer, it's taken quite a while for Google's cloud-based Compute Engine to get here, but what's important is that it's here. Well, at least for "general availability", which is to say, "developers".
To coincide with this milestone, Google has a number of new features to talk about that helps bolster its solution up a little bit. While Compute Engine has been squarely built with Linux in mind, the only two options to choose from up to this point were Debian and CentOS. Now, "any out-of-the-box" distribution can be used. This move shouldn't come as much of a surprise, though, given such limited support wouldn't bode too well for most potential customers.
Past that, Google has reduced the price of its engine instances by 10% and its persistent disk costs by an impressive 60%, while improving performance by up to 700% on the IOPS front. Plus, for those who are in need of some serious horsepower, mammoth 16-core instances which can support up to 104 GB of RAM are being made available.
While Google has a long way to go to match Amazon's cloud services, it does offer one thing that sets itself apart: Live migration with automatic restarts. This is huge for customers who demand 100% uptime or as close to it as possible (Google's SLA guarantees 99.95%), since it means maintenance and upgrades won't affect their services.
Despite having been in development for well over a year, we're still in the early days of Compute Engine. Even as it stands, though, Google's offering is attractive. From here-on-out, the company can worry about matching other key Amazon cloud services, and finally provide proper competition in the enterprise.