November 26, 2014

No More Free Google Apps for Businesses

Since its initial introduction into the business world in 2005, Google Apps has been available to small business users for free. Even when the premium version was launched in 2007, Google still maintained a free standard version for individuals and small organizations.

But now, Google has announced that it will no longer offer the free version of Google Apps to new business customers. The premium version, now called Google Apps for Business, will continue to be available for $50 per user per year, regardless of company size. Free accounts will be reserved for personal users.

Google said that this change will not impact current Google Apps customers, even those using free business accounts. However, new businesses that sign up for Google Apps will have to sign up for a premium account.

Google Apps offers businesses many useful services, from Gmail accounts to Google Drive cloud storage. Premium accounts also offer a 25GB inbox, 24/7 phone support, and 99.9% uptime with no scheduled downtime.

Since the free version of Google Apps was previously available to both businesses and individuals, Google said that the overall user experience was lacking for both groups, and that’s part of the reason why it chose to make these most recent changes. The company stated in a blog post that many business users tended to outgrow the basic version too quickly and personal users were left waiting on updated features that had to become business ready before launching.

Individual users will still be able to sign up for free personal Google accounts, which allow access to web apps across all of Google’s services. In addition, Google Apps for Education will remain a free offering.

Google Apps is currently used by millions of businesses around the world, which, for now at least, won’t be impacted by this news. But for the new startups launching daily and other businesses that haven’t yet signed up for Google Apps, there will only be one account option available, and it is no longer free.

25 Comments ▼

Annie Pilon - Staff Writer


Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a staff writer for Small Business Trends, covering entrepreneur profiles and feature stories. She is a freelance writer specializing in marketing, social media, and creative topics. When she’s not writing for her various freelance projects or her personal blog Wattlebird, she can be found exploring all that her home state of Michigan has to offer.

25 Reactions

  1. It was fun while it lasted! Is there anything else like it for free now?

  2. is there any alternative for this? Please help

    • Hell yeah. try http://domains.live.com It allow you to create up to 500 users for free :D

      • I want to second Ranga’s option for live.com. I’ve been successful projecting an internet presence for newly created domains. The process was simple, management pretty straightforward and the only catch I see is my Hotmail or Outlook web pages contain constant advertisements.

        On a related point — I’m taking a closer look at MSFT stock. This is a cool direction for their company and a chance to pull some market / social share away from GOOG. Interesting!

  3. I have many website and create google apps account and perchage bulk service pls send details

  4. At least they’re letting current users keep their free accounts.

  5. I knew I should have signed up for that domain before they went pay-only! Well at least I still have the free accnt but I guess I’ll have to consider moving my google site over to soho…

  6. I’m glad I signed up years ago. But $50 a year is still a great value for what you get.

  7. They’re not leaving current customers keep their accounts.

    My business account, created in July 2012, has just been suspended.

    We have now lost access to the 5 emails we had created, accounts, etc.

    We’re a startup company and apps for business was being an excelent help from Google.

    Does anybody know any alternative?

    • Nuno,

      Hmmm, you should ask Google if your account was suspended for some other reason. We have one free Google Apps account that we inherited when acquiring a site. The notice we received says:

      Hello from Google,

      Here’s some important news about Google Apps — but don’t worry, there’s no need for you to take any action. We just want you to know that we’re making a change to the packages we offer.

      Starting today, we’re no longer accepting new sign-ups for the free version of Google Apps (the version you’re currently using). Because you’re already a customer, this change has no impact on your service, and you can continue to use Google Apps for free.

      I urge you to check into the reason because I suspect there must be some other explanation.

      – Anita

  8. are there other options?

  9. Thanks a lot Anita. I also think this must be a mistake. Actually our Google apps account says our 30-day trial period is over. Weird cause we’ve been using it for 6 months. It was free when we started…

    I’post again if this is solved any other way than paying.

    Cheers
    Nuno

  10. Google Apps is a really good communication and collaboration solution on the cloud. Now that its no longer free, the only option left is to go for a good Reseller like google-apps.ibeesolutions.com/. I went through them 2 years ago and still renew my accounts every year through them. Their support is the best I in the market.

    Cheers,
    Rebecca

  11. No more free lunch….seems to be an emerging trend across the board.

  12. The freemium business model is only good if you have a high upsell conversion rate on premium services (i.e. Dropbox) or if the user traffic leads to other revenue streams (i.e. advertising fees for Facebook).

    Obviously, Google Apps didn’t generate enough sales for Google products and services that businesses have to pay for. NOTHING IN LIFE is for FREE, indefinitely.

  13. You know what Rayce, as principles, you’re right about everything you say.
    You missed two point though:
    1) Achieving a high upsell rate will not com with 30-day trial periods (especially considering the amount of work it takes to properly configure google apps for business);

    2) Companies like Google can’t opt-out this frivolously when they advertise being enterpreneurship and social development supporters.

    Cheers

  14. I don’t the problem, its the internet that is supposed to be free, not Google.

  15. The solution is simple I’m moving to microsoft 365 it’s only $1.00 dearer than google apps but has a lot more features and benefits.

  16. There is no doubt about how good Google Apps is, it was quite surprisingly how google just announced that it will no longer be providing google apps for free.

    Providing IT Support for Small business in canberra, Google Apps was quite a good solution, Emails could be hosted with google and a normal window / linux server would easily be the print and file server.

    However what was more shocking was Microsfot taking off the SBS from their development line.

    I guess big gaints make the rules !

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