Google offers new 'Always Free' cloud tier to attract users

Customers will be able to run tiny workloads free of charge, beyond Google’s limited-time trial

Google offers new 'Always Free' cloud tier to attract users
Magdalena Petrova

Google is letting its customers get a taste of its cloud for free, without a time-limited trial. The company quietly launched a new “Always Free” tier on Thursday that lets people use small amounts of its public cloud services without charge, beyond the company’s limited-time trial.

The tier includes—among other things—1 f1-micro compute instance, 5 GB per month of Regional Storage and 60 minutes per month of access to the Cloud Speech API. Using the free tier requires users to provide a credit card that Google can automatically bill for any use over the limits.

In addition, the cloud provider expanded its free trial so that users get $300 in credits that they can use for up to 12 months. Google will halt users’ workloads if they eat up all of the credits before the end of 12 months.

The free offerings are meant to help attract users to Google Cloud Platform at a time when the company is competing against Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and other public cloud providers for developers’ time and attention.

Google’s Always Free tier is somewhat similar to what AWS offers its customers. For example, both platforms allow users to run workloads using their respective event-driven compute services, AWS Lambda and Google Functions.

One thing that sets Google apart is its willingness to hand out a free virtual machine.

Google previously offered a 60-day free trial with $300 in credits. An extended trial was one of the cloud provider’s most-requested features, since the short time limit often wasn’t enough for a full proof-of-concept test.

The Always Free benefits are available from Google’s us-west-1, us-central-1 and us-east-1 regions. It’s unclear if the company plans to offer them in other countries.