Google’s growing cloud just got a NoSQL database

It doesn’t have a cool name like Cassandra, Voldemort or MongoDB, but Google(s goog) is offering up a non-relational database called Google Cloud Datastore. Like almost everything the company has done since announcing its Compute Engine service at last year’s IO conference — including the rest of the features it announced on Wednesday — Cloud Datastore looks like a direct shot at current cloud champion Amazon(s amzn) Web Services.

googlecloudstoreAWS has a managed NoSQL database service called DynamoDB that’s replicated across three availability zones to ensure its stays up. Google’s Cloud Datastore sounds eerily similar, according to the product’s website (although Google calls its product “NoSQL-like). It’s fully managed, built for speed and scale and is replicated across data centers. For some queries, Google even promises that Cloud Datastore will support ACID transactions.

Although the services advertise similar features in terms of availability and scalability, they’re quite different technically. Cloud Datastore is based on Google’s BigTable database (and a library called Megastore on top of it) while DynamoDB is based on Amazon’s Dynamo database. You can get details on Datastore¬† and how it works here. Pricing information is available here.

If its goal is to compete with AWS, though, Google’s cloud platform still has a long way to go. Yes, it has most of the key services in place and even some seeming advantages in certain areas, but it’s lacking the incredible breadth of services AWS offers — everything from virtual server instances to a devops service to a hosted data warehouse. It’s also lacking a seven-year reputation for being an all-around reliable platform and an ever-growing list of large-enterprise users.

Of course, there’s also an argument to be made that Google doesn’t really have to compete with AWS at all when it comes to cloud computing. AWS made a name for itself by ¬†taking all the new workloads from startups and corporate developers who wanted to build new types of applications and didn’t want to deal with the IT department; Google has the same opportunity ahead of it. New programming languages like Go and the unique nature of the rest of Google’s services, Cloud Datastore included, could make it the go-to place for a class of developers that likes to push the envelope in terms of application design.

Oh, and Google has a little ace up its sleeve called Android. If someone is so inclined to develop mobile applications for the most-popular mobile operating system on the planet, there are worse places to host them.

This post was updated at 5:35 p.m. to clarify that DynamoDB and Cloud Datastore are based on different underlying technologies.