Google Apps opened in 2006 after helping San Jose City College, proving them with Gmail accounts tied to their school domain addresses. In 2007, Google released an expanded version through Google Apps for Business. Since then, more than 5 million companies as well as governments, schools, and NGOs like the Red Cross have chosen Google for their email, word processing, spreadsheets, and other available options, free of charge.
But that has changed. On Dec 6th, the search giant will no longer accept new small businesses unless they sign up for the premium version for a $50 yearly fee per user. According to Google, a small business is one that has 10 or fewer employees. Originally only businesses with 50 or more employees had to charge for the premium version.
Clay Bavor, director of product management, expanded on the reasons for the change. “Businesses outgrow the basic version and want things like 24/7 customer support, and a larger inbox size. Similarly, consumers often have to wait to get new features while we make them business-ready.” An example of a new service for business customers is the Google Play Private Channel, which allows them to distribute internal Android apps via the Google Play Store.
This does not mean that all businesses will have an impact. It is important to point out that large businesses with the existing free version will continue to stay that way. Google Apps for Education is also not affected by the changes, and Google for Governments will remain with their $50 per user per year fee. It will remain to see how effective this decision will be for both parties,