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Google is taking direct aim at in tablets, with yesterday’s announcement of the Nexus 7. Today, it is a completely different area where the tech titans are lining up for a fight.

In a much-anticipated move, Google today unfurled a new cloud computing service that allows users to tap into the computing power of the search giant’s datacenters. Dubbed Google Compute Engine, the new service is a direct rival to Amazon Web Services.

According to Engadget, Google is promising “50 percent more computes per dollar” than its rivals. (Pricing details here). It wasn’t lost on us that Google touted a Seattle-based organization — Lee Hood’s Institute for Systems Biology — as one of the users of the new service at the Google I/O conference.

“Google Compute Engine is just part of what we see as a whole new cloud, not only by accessing powerful computational resources, but by collaborating more easily on complex research,” ISB software architect Hector Rovira said in a white paper that was released in conjunction with the launch.

(Think that might have been an indirect shot across the bow of Amazon and Microsoft?)

In a blog post, Google’s Craig McLuckie writes that businesses now can rely on the same same infrastructure that powers Google.

“This goes beyond just giving you greater flexibility and control; access to computing resources at this scale can fundamentally change the way you think about tackling a problem,” McLuckie wrote.

So, what do you think? Does Google have a shot here to actually unseat Amazon Web Services?

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