Google to charge companies for Gmail

Dan Martin
Former editor
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Internet giant Google is to stop free access to its software for businesses.

The company announced that new business customers will no longer be able to opt for a free version of its software including Gmail and Google Drive. Instead, they will have to pay £33 a year.

"When we launched the premium business version we kept our free, basic version as well," said Clay Bavor, director of product management at Google Apps. "Both businesses and individuals signed up for this version, but time has shown that in practice, the experience isn't quite right for either group.

"Businesses quickly outgrow the basic version and want things like 24/7 customer support and larger inboxes. Similarly, consumers often have to wait to get new features while we make them business ready."

Google said the change will no impact on existing customers, including those using the free version. Individuals signing up to Google services will not have to pay. 

"With focus we'll be able to do even more for our business customers," Bavor added.


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By munroconsulting
12th Dec 2012 11:40

Having been very disappointed with its Drive service and also the perfectly legal, but perhaps less than moral, stance on paying tax in the UK as I have to, I took a long hard look at my need for the paid for Google Apps.  I came to the conclusion that actually there was little Google Apps offered that was not available from UK suppliers.  The price gap between business GMail and offerings based on MS Exchange has closed significantly, and Exchange mailboxes are now available with the kind of storage that previously only GMail offered.

So it costs me a bit more, but I get a better UK based service and tax goes to into the UK coffers.  UK PLC benefits.  Perhaps other UK businesses should do the same?

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By stickleback
12th Dec 2012 17:06

I have recently started using Google Calendar - and coupled with that Google Drive. I use it to list golf tournaments for my local area (the Costa del Sol in Spain) on a website which is a commercial venture - - both of these services were free, and are pretty fundamental to the current functionality of the page.

Are there alternatives? Of course. Calendar add ons are simple enough to find - and I already pay for a dropbox account as well as various hosting servers where I could store the files that the calendar offers as downloads (tournament flyers and the like) - so hosting is not a problem either.

Personally, it does not surprise me that Google is starting to consider charging for these services - at least when used for commercial ends - and I would pay an annual fee for their use - as much as anything because they work.

How many other businesses offer a range of completely free services as valuable to those offered by Google? I cannot think of any. Google makes money hand over fist through their ad platform, granted. But that doesn't mean for one second that they should have to give other parts of their business away for free.

Can I have some ketchup with that?

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