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    Google Apps stops accepting free sign-ups

    This is disappointing.

    Source: Google Enterprise Blog

    Google Apps started with the simple idea that Gmail could help businesses and schools work better together without the hassles of managing software and servers. As we grew from a handful of customers to a few hundred, we expanded to offer a premium business version of Google Apps. Fast forward to today and Google Apps is used by millions of businesses. We've also added versions for governments, universities and schools.

    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.

    With this in mind, we've decided to make things very straightforward. Starting today for all new customers:

    • Individuals wishing to use Google’s web apps like Gmail and Google Drive should create a 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% uptime guarantee with no scheduled downtime. Pricing is still $50 per user, per year.

    Please note this change has no impact on our existing customers, including those using the free version. And as before, Google Apps for Education will be available as a free service for schools and universities. Also, as the first cloud productivity suite with FISMA certification, we’ll continue to offer Google Apps for Government for $50 per user, per year.

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    SYNACK's Avatar
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    Step 1, hook the masses
    Step 2, start charging for stuff that was free
    Step 3, start charging for all stuff that was free
    Step 4, Profit... Isn't cloud stuff fun

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    tmcd35's Avatar
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    Seems fair to me. Google's explanation, as quoted, makes perfect sense. It's not as if Office 365 or Zimba don't charge business for the same level of service? Besides
    as before, Google Apps for Education will be available as a free service for schools and universities.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tmcd35 View Post
    Besides
    as before, Google Apps for Education will be available as a free service for schools and universities.
    For now...

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    Quote Originally Posted by tmcd35 View Post
    Seems fair to me. Google's explanation, as quoted, makes perfect sense. It's not as if Office 365 or Zimba don't charge business for the same level of service? Besides
    I made the same point a while back and it was pointed out that Microsoft have Windows Live Custom Domains, a free service to use Windows Live accounts with your own domain name. It's not Office 365, but it does give you custom domains and a bit of centralised management.

    I'm not sure many businesses use the free tier due to the account limitations. But as a current user of the free Google Apps for my family domain, it is nice to have and it's a shame it won't be available to new customers.

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