Google launched Google Apps in August 2006, and it promoted it as a service that was available at no cost to companies of all sizes. The price point was free, so it helped many companies small and large to actually start to think about not paying for Microsoft Office.
That free price point really opened doors, even if it was obvious in 2007 that Google preferred that businesses would start to pay $50 per user per year for the Premier Edition of Google App, which was then rebranded as Google Apps for Business.
As of last week, Google Apps is not free anymore to businesses. The free lunch is over. You can’t anymore get what you did not pay for. However, this is not the case if you already have Google Apps. Companies that are using the free edition can continue to do so under the identical terms.
According to Google, who has faced threats recently to its News service, when they launched the premium business version, they kept their free version, too. Businesses and individuals signed up for this version. However, the company states, in practice the experience has not been quite right for either group. Google says that businesses quickly discovered limitations to the free version, and they want premium features, which includes customer support 24/7.
Individuals can continue to use Google Web apps, such as Gmail, Docs and Drive for free. However, businesses will need to start paying for Google Apps for Business per user.
Google, who has been talking to Dish Network about a wireless service, is still going to offer Google Apps for Education to schools at no cost. Google Apps for Government will be available at the same price as the product for business – $50 per user per year.