Google dumps free version of Apps for Businesses

Only premium version will be available, except to companies already using free version

Technology trends and news by Steven Loeb
December 7, 2012
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/2c39

Google has made it its mission this year to cut out services and products that it felt were outdated, redundant or inefficient and to streamline its service for its users.

In a continuation of this goal, Google will no longer be offering a free version of its Google Apps For Businesses, it was announced in a press release late Thursday.

Going forward, instead of offering both a free and premium version, only the paid version, of $50 per user, per year, will be available.

Google Apps is a service from Google which provides a suit of software services, including Gmail, Drive for cloud storage, Talk, Docs, and Calendar. Previously, businesses with fewer than 50 users had access to the free version, which provided up to seven gigabytes of space per user. The premium version, which is now the new standard, includes 25 gigabytes per user, 24/7 phone support, and a 99.9 percent uptime guarantee with no scheduled downtime.

The reason for dropping the free version, Google says, is that offering the free model to business slowed things down for both individuals and businesses.

“When we launched the premium business version we kept our free, basic version as well. 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,” Clay Bavor, Director of Product Management, Google Apps, wrote.

The good news is that Google Apps will remain free for individuals, and for businesses that have already signed up for the free service. In addition, Google Apps for Education will still be free to schools and universities and it will continue to offer Google Apps for Government for $50 per user, per year.

”With focus we’ll be able to do even more for our business customers. We’re excited about the opportunity to push Google Apps further so our customers can do what matters most to them–whether that’s scooping ice cream, changing the face of healthcare or contributing to lifelong learning,” Bavor wrote.

Google’s app cleanup project

Back in January, Google announced its New Year’s resolution: to continue refocusing on building good products for their users. Part of that process meant cutting out useless and repetative products.

“As we head into 2012, we’ve been sticking to some old resolutions—the need to focus on building amazing products that millions of people love to use every day. That means taking a hard look at products that replicate other features, haven’t achieved the promise we had hoped for or can’t be properly integrated into the overall Google experience, “ Dave Girouard, VP of Product Management, wrote in January.

These cuts were a continuation of a process that began in July 2011, after Larry Page took over as CEO, following the departure of Eric Schmidt.

The phrase used at the time was “More wood behind fewer arrows.”

Since then, over 50 products were altered, or removed, including Google Apps for Teams, Google Listen and Google Video for Business, as well at least 150 Google-created blogs for products and services, in August.

(Image source: http://ains.com)

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