Google Apps refers to Google’s suite of web-based software services — which includes Gmail webmail and Drive for cloud storage and collaborative documents. Google is still offering individuals free versions of these software products, when they create a Google Account, but businesses no longer have a free option.
“When we launched the premium business version [of Google Apps] we kept our free, basic version as well,” Director of Product Management Clay Bavor wrote. “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.” In lieu with that Google put an end to Google’s Free Apps for business that was offered to organizations with up to 10 employees announced Tuesday.
The Application now is a business ready and signing up for new Google Apps accounts will follow these options:
- Individuals wishing to use Google’s web apps like Gmail and Google Drive should createa free personal Google Account, which provides a seamless experience across all of our web services on any device.
- For Businesses, instead of two versions, there will be one. Companies of all sizes will sign up for our premium version, Google Apps for Business, which includes 24/7 phone support for any issue, a 25GB inbox, and a 99.9% up time guarantee with no scheduled downtime. Pricing is still $50 per user, per year.
Customers that created Google Apps for Business accounts prior to December 6 will be allowed to downgrade to the free tier until January 9, 2013. Google Apps for Education will be available as a free service for schools and universities. Individuals can still sign up for free Google accounts to get access to Gmail, Google Drive, Docs, etc. The move according to Google team is to be able to do even more for their business customers. We’re excited about the opportunity to push Google Apps further so our customers can do what matters most and ”We’re not serving them well,” Google VP Sundar Pichai told the Wall Street Journal this week in reference to customers on the free tier. Eliminating the free tier for new business customers will disappoint some and bleeds small businesses, but if coupled with better service for all customers it might ultimately be worth the sacrifice.
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