June 29, 2012, 3:46 PM

Google seeks more bucks in the ‘cloud’

The new Google Compute Engine competes with Amazon’s hosting service.

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In search of a new revenue stream, Google Inc. this week launched Google Compute Engine, an Internet- or “cloud-based” service that provides on-demand computing power for running web applications.

In effect, the service lets online retailers and other web site operators access the same web server infrastructure that Google uses to power its own applications. “Google Compute Engine lets you run large-scale computing workloads on the same infrastructure that runs Google Search, Gmail and Ads,” Google says in a web posting at cloud.google.com/compute. Google announced the new cloud service at a company event this week where it also launched a tablet computer.

The service also offers what Google describes as flexible data storage to access protected data stored in multiple data centers, and flexible networking to connect multiple web servers.

Google adds that it plans to offer additional variations of Google Compute Engine to help developers get started with a broad range of small-to-large software application development projects.

Google says its Compute Engine complements other web-based services from Google such as Google Cloud Storage for data storage and Google App Engine for developing mobile apps and other software applications.

Google’s cloud services compete with services from Amazon.com Inc., whose Amazon Web Services is a major provider of Internet-based computing and data storage. Amazon Web Services provides data storage and computing power to a wide range of web site operators, not just retailers. However, seven retailers in the Top 500 Guide and two in the Second 500 Guide list Amazon as the host of their web sites.

Earlier this year, Amazon, No. 1 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, said it was cutting its prices on cloud services in a move industry analysts said was an attempt to protect its market share amid growing competition. Other providers of cloud services include IBM Corp., Oracle Corp. and Rackspace.

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