A post on Google Enterprise blog has yesterday announced an important change in Google Apps business model – this service will no longer be free for small businesses.
For years Google has been working on expanding the possibilities of using their cloud apps in various areas. Though a majority of users are those with free accounts, Google cloud apps are widely used in professional and educational settings all over the world. Google’s cloud apps for business offer an excellent tool for managing business accounts and by now there was both free and premium offer.
Now, small businesses that wish to use integrated Google Apps will have to pay $50 per user per year. The idea behind the new business model is to improve the service and enable a better performance. This includes 99.9% uptime guarantee together with 25GB of inbox storage and 24/7 phone support for possible issues.
Clay Bavor, director of Google Apps product management explains “Google Apps started with the simple idea that Gmail could help businesses and schools work better together without the hassles of managing software and servers. As we grew from a handful of customers to a few hundred, we expanded to offer a premium business version of Google Apps.”
Bavor emphasizes that this decision would not affect the existing Google Apps users who are already using free accounts. Educational institutions will also be allowed to use this service for free and this is Google’s way to contribute to the development in this sector. In addition to this, Google says that they will continue to offer Google Apps to governments for $50 per user per year.
Though there is no official information about the number of current users of their cloud apps, Google recently announced that Google+ reached 500 million of users. Whatever the exact number of all Google apps users, it is undoubtedly huge.