Google Apps, until yesterday, offered two flavours of business accounts – Premium and Basic. With the Basic version of Google Apps, users received 10 Gigabytes of storage and access to Mail, Calendar, Drive and Sites under their domain name. As of yesterday, December 6th 2012, Google have removed the Free version of Google Apps. Google provide the following information on their announcement yesterday:
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.
This change does not affect existing Basic accounts, but it does affect existing 30 day trial accounts. If you are currently trialing a Google Apps Premium Business Account, you will not be able to download to a Basic Account at the end of the trial – you’re left with a choice to pay or to cancel your account. If you wish to use Google web apps, there are two options….
- 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, 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.
Does this sound the death of Google Apps?
I’ve been reading a lot of the comments about this change, and whilst this happened really quickly with no notice – I can’t say I’m surprised. Many are predicting the ‘death of Google Apps‘ however, I’m not convinced. Sure, one of the attractive parts was being able to use it for free however, the trade off was limited support, a limit of 10 users and a limit of 10GB storage per user (without being able to buy more storage).
I know there are a couple of other cloud based services that provide similar functionality but my testing and experience leads me to believe that Google Apps is still very awesome for the fee and provides a cohesiveness between the different web apps that really helps productivity.
Want to know what Google Apps is about?
If you want to start your free 30 day trial and find out what the hype is all about, we are still offering setup and configuration services for Google Apps
So – what are your thoughts? Have you been caught by the sudden changes – how does that make you feel? What other SAAS solutions are available, that provide similar functionality?