About two months ago I received the following email from Google Apps and really just read it today wile setting up a Google Apps account for a client. This is really big news and yet this announcement seemed to just slide buy as if it was not news.
Starting today, we’re no longer accepting new sign-ups for the free version of Google Apps (the version you’re currently using). Because you’re already a customer, this change has no impact on your service, and you can continue to use Google Apps for free.
Should you ever want to upgrade to Google Apps for Business, you’ll enjoy benefits such as 24/7 customer support, a 25 GB inbox, business controls, our 99.9% uptime guarantee, unlimited users and more for just $5 per user, per month
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.
So Google has ended the free version of its Google Apps for business users, after signalling their intent by gradually scaling down the size of businesses that could use the service for free.
So Google moves on by increasingly competing with Microsoft in office applications, The search giant has also made clear that its offline offerings are for temporary situations, like flights or stints on the go without a wireless connection. As evidence by Chrome Books, they want us to use their products while connected with the cloud.
I guess this was bound to happen because the competition has announced recent changes. Microsoft now offers a cloud-based online version of its Office application suite for individual users, Office Web Apps, but it is less comprehensive than Google’s version. Microsoft’s offering for business users, Office 365, is billed more as an extension of its desktop-based Office software.