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Google Axes Free Google Apps For Businesses 141

Posted by Soulskill
from the bringing-home-the-bacon dept.
New submitter Macfox writes "In a move to focus on serving small business better, Google has axed the popular free edition of Google Apps for businesses. From Dec 6th, it will not be possible to sign up for the free edition. In a statement to the Wall Street Journal, Google's senior vice president in charge of Google Apps said Google wants to provide small businesses that use the free version of the software with dedicated customer support — something only paying customers currently get. 'We're not serving them well,' he said of the free users." Google's blog post notes that "this change has no impact on our existing customers, including those using the free version."
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Google Axes Free Google Apps For Businesses

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 07, 2012 @10:38AM (#42214797)

    you aren't the product, you're the customer. A brave new world for Google!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 07, 2012 @10:58AM (#42214949)

    I used to run all my own email etc. on a server in my house, but a year or so ago I moved it all onto a 'google apps for business' account. Since then, my kids and wife have all started using google stuff much more often and it's hugely useful for us to be able to collect all that under accounts tied to the family google apps domain.

    Google should do something family-related in this area, they could cut out 95% of the features of apps for business, but the most useful stuff is creating sites, sharing docs and drive between members and most importantly for me to be able to manage the accounts of all of us. There are alternatives, but this is a nice setup which works well.

  • by dodgerfan (994874) on Friday December 07, 2012 @11:00AM (#42214967)
    I have been a free Google Apps user for years and I've never had any issues with it. The lack of support hasn't ever bothered me. I've helped several other people sign up for the free version as well and no support has ever been needed for them either. This is just a case where the free version was good enough and was keeping people for signing up for the paid version. It's always about the money. They have been thinking about killing this service for while now. When I originally signed up, I had access to 100 address. Soon after the limit had been dropped to 50 and then to 10 accounts. I think when the service launched, there was no limit on accounts.
  • Personal use? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Chrisq (894406) on Friday December 07, 2012 @11:13AM (#42215087)
    The page currently has a cryptic entry [google.com] "Google Applications for Personal Use" without any "learn more" which the business and educational versions have. Since many individuals use google apps for their email for a personal domain (for example with WordPress) I hope that a free perosnal version will be available.
  • by squiggleslash (241428) on Friday December 07, 2012 @11:15AM (#42215103) Homepage Journal

    It's hardly lying. You might just about get away with calling it spinning, but even so.

    It would have been lying if Google had said "To better serve you, we're removing the following features of the free Google Apps", or "To better serve you, we're now restricting free apps accounts to three users". But saying "To better serve you, we're eliminating a free service so that we can get the revenues necessary to support the product properly", that's entirely fair.

    Disclaimer: I'm sortadisappointed by this, I'm a free GA user myself and planned to use it for other projects/domains. Glad I get to keep what I have, but still.

  • by mattiaza (2567891) on Friday December 07, 2012 @11:25AM (#42215237)
    I don't think it's a blatant lie. I think it's more to do with expectation management. Many people still expect customer support for free services, and get upset if their calls or emails are ignored - which is much more expensive than running the web service itself. There was a Slashdot discussion about a similar problem at an Open Source company last month: http://ask.slashdot.org/story/12/11/26/2345214/ask-slashdot-troubling-trend-for-open-source-company [slashdot.org] No matter how many disclaimers you put on your website or how many times you repeat the "support costs extra", many free users are still upset at you, and will complain about it on the internet.

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