Google has opened up cloud infrastructure service Compute Engine to more customers while also lowering prices and adding several new features, the company said today in a blog post.

Amazon currently holds the title for largest infrastructure-as-a-service provider with Amazon Web Services, with Rackspace firmly in second place. But Google has a lot of cash and a lot of servers, both of which could help it force its way into the infrastructure-as-a-service sector — much like Microsoft is doing with Azure.

Google announced Compute Engine back in June, but it has limited its widespread availability so far. Today’s announcement makes it so any developer who buys Google’s $400 per month gold support package will now have access to it.

The search giant also lowered all Compute Engine pricing by 4 percent. In the United States, pricing starts at $0.132 per hour for its smallest virtual machine and tops out at $1.221 per hour its most powerful high-memory virtual machine. (Prices in Europe are a bit higher.)

Google says that it has also added the following features to Compute Engine:

• The option to boot from persistent disks mounted as the root file system, persistent disk snapshots, the capability to checkpoint and restore the contents of network resident persistent disks on demand, and the capability to attach and detach persistent disks from running instances.

• An improved administration console, the Google Cloud Console (preview), which allows you to administer all your Google Cloud Platform services via a unified interface.

• Five new instance type families (diskless versions of our standard instance types, plus diskful and diskless versions of high-memory and high-CPU configurations), with 16 new instance types.

• Two new supported zones in Europe, which provide lower latency and higher performance for our European customers. We’ve also made it easy to migrate virtual machine instances from one zone to another via an enhancement to our gcutil command line tool.

• An enhanced metadata server, with the ability to support recursive queries, blocking gets and selectable response formats, along with support for updating virtual machine tags and metadata on running instances (which enables dynamic reconfiguration scenarios).

Clouds photo via Nicholas_T/Flickr