Google spiffs up its cloud — take that Amazon!

Google(s goog) really, really wants you to take its cloud infrastructure seriously as an Amazon(s amzn) alternative and on Monday launched storage price cuts — as well as the preview of an even cheaper tier of archival storage — in hopes that you’ll do just that.

It also announced 36 (!) new Google Compute Engine (GCE) instance types to join the four previously announced standard instance types, which were discounted 5 percent. Also new, an Object Versioning service for Cloud Storage to help stop users from mistakenly deleting or overwriting their data.

These new perks, along with expanded geographic data center coverage for more services, were unveiled on the Google Enterprise Blog on Monday. The timing of the post, coming as it does a day before Amazon kicks off its AWS: Reinvent conference is probably not a coincidence.

According to the blog, Google is:

reducing the price of standard Google Cloud Storage by over 20% and introducing a limited preview of Durable Reduced Availability (DRA) storage. DRA storage provides a lower price storage option by enabling you to trade off some data availability while still offering the durability your storage demands.

I assumed that DRA took aim at Amazon’s Glacier archival storage, but a Google spokeswoman said it’s more directly competitive with Amazon’s reduced redundancy storage.

Playing David to Amazon’s Goliath

Google launched its AWS competitor GCE last June. In the past few months has revved up its Cloud SQL database service and added 3 European data centers for Google App Engine Premier users and Cloud SQL customers. Now those European data centers are also available to all GAE customers.

As big and rich as Google is, it’s got its work cut out for it: Amazon Web Services is by far the market leader in public cloud infrastructure, and it’s anyone’s guess as to who is number two.  Microsoft is making a PaaS-oriented play with Windows Azure while Rackspace(s rax) and Hewlett-Packard(s hpq) are pushing OpenStack-based public cloud solutions.  With GCE and associated services, Google clearly hopes to parlay its webscale computing savvy in this space.

Announcements like this one should at least give pause to people who doubt that Google is serious about providing cloud infrastructure services for business users.  The kingpin in internet search aims to lead in more categories than that. But when it comes to cloud infrastructure, it’s definitely still the underdog.