The latest battleground in the public cloud price wars is “free.” On Friday, Google launched a new Always Free tier for the Google Cloud Platform (GCP) that offers customers the use of multiple GCP products at no cost.

The tier was formally announced by Sam Ramji, a vice president of product development at Google Cloud, at the final keynote address of the Google Cloud Next conference on Friday. On one side, it offers a 12-month trial with a $300 credit for use with any GCP service. On the other side is the Always Free program.

“Always Free allows you to try participating products for free up to their non-expiring usage limits, making it easy for you to test and develop with these products,” the GCP web page said.

SEE: Why machine learning and data analysis are critical to Google’s success in the cloud

It’s important to note that only certain companies are eligible to leverage the free tier. An organization must never have been a paying GCP customer, and must not have previously signed up for the free trial, to be eligible. While they won’t initially be charged, companies will need to provide a bank account or credit card to sign up.

The trial portion will end as soon as you spend the $300, or the 12-month period elapses. While the credits can be used for basically any GCP service, there are some limitations on how many cores can be run, or what machine types can be run in Google Compute Engine, for example, the webpage said.

A customer’s use of the Alway Free tier will not count against their $300 credits. However, the Always Free program obviously has usage limits for the GCP services it affects. For example, Google App Engine is limited to 28 instance hours per day and 5 GB of cloud storage, among other limitations.

Google’s new serverless option, Google Cloud Functions, is also available through the Always Free program. Cloud Functions are limited to 2 million invocations per month, 400,000 GB-seconds, 200,000 GHz-seconds of compute time, and 5 GB network egress per month, the webpage said.

Google machine learning APIs and a host of other tools are also available in the tier. The full usage limitations can be found here.

In addition to the Always Free program, Google recently announced its Committed Use Discounts which seem to put it ahead of the AWS Reserved Instances for now, as noted by ZDNet’s Larry Dignan. “For now” is the key differentiator there, as the cloud pricing wars have never slowed down, and likely won’t for the foreseeable future.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  1. Google announced a new Always Free tier for its Google Cloud Platform (GCP), where limited use of its services are available for free.
  2. Google is also offering a $300 credit in a 12-month trial, so users can experiment with any GCP product, with some limitations.
  3. Google also announced Committed Use Discounts, which put it slightly ahead of AWS offerings for now.