Google to start charging small businesses for Google Apps

The company has done away with a free version available to firms with 10 or fewer users, but private users are still free

Google has ended a free version of its Google Apps online application suite for small businesses, saying it wants to provide a stronger and more uniform experience to users.

The Internet giant said Thursday in a blog post that now even small businesses with 10 or fewer users will have to pay to use its online app platform, a group that up until now has been free. All businesses will now be charged US$50 per user, per year, for the service.

Google Apps will remain free for individual users, as well as existing business customers that currently use the free version.

"Google Apps for Business," the company's paid offering, provides its email, calendar and online office suite as an all-in-one service, allowing them to be used on private domain names and adding features such as 24-hour phone support. It also offers features such as an archiving service and additional storage for extra fees.

The company doesn't release user numbers for the service, but said last year in a blog posting it had over 40 million users, although the majority of those are believed to be non-paying. Google competes with Microsoft's "Office 365" online service, which offers an email service and online versions of its Word, PowerPoint and Excel programs from $6 per user, per month, which are increasingly integrated with the standard software versions.

A blog post Thursday by Clay Bavor, director of product management for Google Apps, said the service is used by "millions of businesses." Bavor said eliminating the free version will help remove confusion about Google's different offerings and provide a better experience for its business customers, who "quickly outgrow the basic version."

Google has also worked to leverage its other properties to woo corporate customers. This includes offerings such as a service that lets businesses publish mobile Android apps for internal use on their own version of the Google Play online store, as well as online storage that scales up to thousands of terabytes.

Since launching a paid version of its online product in 2007, Google has gradually scaled down the size of businesses that can use it free of charge. In 2009, the limit was set at 50 users, and in 2011 it was lowered to 10 users, prior to ending the free portion of the service.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Internet-based applications and servicesGoogleinternetsearch engines

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jay Alabaster

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?