Google Apps No Longer Free

Author: Steve Martin

I love Google Apps. If you love gmail, then you love Google Apps too. Google Apps is a quick and easy way to take your business domain “mycompany.com” and drop it onto the free gmail system. Everything works pretty much the same as gmail except that instead of your e-mail address being mycompany@gmail.com, you can use something like myname@mycompany.com. Much more professional looking. And you get to use all of the same features and function of the gmail system. I’ve set this up for a bunch of companies and they have loved it.

Google Apps has always had more than one version, paid and free. There are reasons to choose to pay for it as it supports syncing e-mail/contacts/calendar with many devices, has many more features and works very well. The free version is a bit more basic but it gets the job done. I have setup a LOT of companies on the free version. Especially small businesses that only need a few e-mail addresses. They get a first class e-mail system and it is completely free.

Today, Google officially announced to their resellers (I am a Google Apps reseller) that they are no longer offering any new free Google Apps accounts. For those that already signed up, you can continue to use your free accounts but you can’t sign up any new free accounts. It would have been nice to have a little warning ahead of time so I could scramble to setup a bunch of new accounts but they only announced it after the change had already been made.

I am sad that they have done this. It had been a great way to help out my small business clients. Now if they want to use Google Apps, and did not sign up before today, they will have to fork over $50/e-mail account/year. If a company has 5 users, what used to be free now costs $250/year. If it’s just basic e-mail they need, there are countless hosting companies that cost less than $100/year and you can create an unlimited number of e-mail accounts. With the free accounts, Google was in a great position to convert free customers to paying customers as their businesses grew and they needed more than the 10 free e-mail accounts. Now, those small businessed will probably use other hosting companies and may never move over to Google Apps as those other hosting companies have unlimited e-mail accounts available for one low rate.

I’m glad that I was able to sign up my main domains to use Google Apps for free and that I am grandfathered in on the free account. I’m sorry for the rest of you small businesses that were unable to do so. Maybe Google will change their mind? I doubt it.

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