Bye Bye Google Apps
On December 6, 2012, Google announced that it would no longer be accepting new domains into the free Google Apps program that had been available to small businesses. Businesses that signed up for the free accounts before December 7 will continue to have access to the service.
Google Apps is Google's suite of cloud-based productivity tools that include domain-customized versions of Gmail, Drive, Docs, Presentations, Spreadsheets, etc.
Google Apps was one of two services available for businesses:
- Google Apps was available for free to businesses with 10 or few employees
- Google Apps for Business was available to any sized business for $50/user/year.
Now businesses only have the option of creating Google Apps for Business accounts - regardless of their size.
Additionally, businesses that are currently in a 30-day trial period with the a paid Google Apps for Business account will still have the option to revert to a free account at the end of their trial if they choose.
Free, personal Gmail accounts are unaffected by the change.
One of the reasons cited in its blog post/announcement was that, "Businesses quickly outgrow the basic version and want things like 24/7 customer support and larger inboxes." As with most statements in press releases, that is a wild overstatement. We used the free version of Google Apps for more than 5 years before we required telephone customer support and switched to the paid service. It should also be noted that we only needed that customer support to help undo an issue created by Google itself.
Current Google Apps for Business account holders were notified via e-mail late in the afternoon on Friday, December 7.
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