Google hasn’t announced it yet, but the company earlier this year started offering free beta access to Cloud Source Repositories, a new service for storing and editing code on the ever-expanding Google Cloud Platform.

It won’t be easy for Google to quickly steal business from source code repository hosting companies like GitHub and Atlassian (with Bitbucket). And sure enough, Google is taking a gradual approach with the new service: It can serve as a “remote” for Git repositories sitting elsewhere on the Internet or locally.

Still, over time the new tool could help Google become more of an all-in-one destination for building and deploying applications. That’s important as Google challenges public cloud market leader Amazon Web Services, which introduced its own Git repository a similar service, CodeCommit, in November at the re:Invent conference. Microsoft, with its growing Azure cloud, also plays a part in this discussion; the company’s Visual Studio Online service offers unlimited repositories.

Earlier this year, Google said it would shut down its open-source project hosting site Google Code, given the rise of GitHub and Bitbucket. But that doesn’t necessarily mean Google doesn’t have big ambitions with the new Google Cloud Source Repositories, which popped up on the Google Cloud Platform website earlier this month.

I checked in with Google to learn more. Here’s what I got back in an email from Google Cloud Platform product manager Chris Sells:

Google Cloud Source Repositories provides a crucial part of our end-to-end cloud tooling story. By allowing you to manage your source in your cloud projects along with your other cloud resources, you’ve got a one-stop shop for everything you’re doing in Google Cloud Platform. The Cloud Source Repositories service provides a private Git repository that works with your existing tools while providing a high degree of replication and encryption to make sure that your code is as safe and secure as you’d expect from Google’s cloud infrastructure.

Further, we’re building other services on top of Cloud Source Repositories, including Google Cloud Debugger, which allows you to inspect the state of your Java code running in production without stopping it or slowing it down, mapping issues all the way back to the source stored in your Cloud Source Repositories. And, just like the rest of Google Cloud Platform, Cloud Source Repositories has an API which we’ll be releasing into beta later this year, giving you fully automated control of your repositories on which to build your own tools.

We’re in beta right now, but expect Google Cloud Source Repositories to get even better as we move towards the full release.

More generally, you can expect Google to discuss the service publicly in the months to come and eventually start charging for it.

That won’t lead to the demise of companies like GitHub, though. Developers around the world go to GitHub’s website every day to collaborate on projects. And GitHub is reported to be raising a big new round of funding. Atlassian, for its part, is profitable and in a position to go public as soon as this year.

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