Google Discontinues Free Tier of Google Apps

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If you've been on the fence about switching your small business over to the free "small team" version of Google Apps, Google just made the decision for you. Before, groups under 10 people in size could sign up for a basic version of Google Apps gratis, but today, the company announced that the free tier has been discontinued. In fact, it's already been scrubbed from the Google Apps website.

"Businesses quickly outgrow the basic version and want things like 24/7 customer support and larger inboxes," Google Apps director Clay Bavor wrote on the Google Enterprise blog. Any business that wants to sign up for Google Apps now has to pay $50 per user per year, regardless of the company's size.

The overwhelming majority of the 40 million-plus Google Apps users are part of smaller teams that use the service for free, the Wall Street Journal reports. The decision to dump the free tier probably has more to do with generating revenue for Google than forcibly delivering a better customer experience, but Bavor said that businesses which already use the free version of Google Apps will continue to be able to do so.  

Individuals with free Google Apps accounts can continue to use them as well, though Bavor suggests that signing up for a personal Google Account and using the individual web services might make better sense for everyday users. "Consumers often have to wait to get new features while we make them business-ready (for Google Apps)," he wrote.

Google has been moving to monetize its previously free business-oriented services. The company recently started charging businesses which want to be included in Google Shopping results, and popular apps that tap the Google Maps API more than 25,000 times daily must now pay for the privilege, as well.

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  • Chris McNelis Says:

    As a Google Apps Business Subscriber for 3 years, and a fan of the platform for my real estate company, I am glad that there is no free lunch. If you try something and like it, buy in. If you want to try it, ask for a free trial period. If you want licensed products for free, you might consider other less developed product. You have to pay for the goods.

  • pat Says:

    Jim and Jerzy, I must admit I disagree.

    Jim, how is a business charging for a product they paid millions to develop and support evil? Get a grip. You go spend millions of your own money to give free stuff to the world. Then come back and talk shit all day bro, otherwise take your evil talk elsewhere.


    you make a very reasonable point. Certainly it's a shame that small businesses in the world wont have free access to email, oh wait, they still do. But what about free access to productivity software like is found on Google Drive, oh wait, yea, all that is still free too. But they certainly wouldn't benefit from the VOIP features that come with Apps... oh yea, Google Voice/Talk is also still free.

    I think the shame is that you think small companies in developing economies aren't resourceful enough to turn on their computers... because that's how simple it is to do business in this modern world.

  • Jerzy Says:

    it's about closing a window of opportunity to small companies in developing economies . what a shame

  • Jim Says:

    Seems you cannot trust a company that's so huge and powerful. It can change mind at any time and it can be evil if it likes.

    The whole idea of using Google Apps is it's free and it can be accessed from anywhere.

    It was never because it is better or easier than Microsoft Office suite installed on a local computer. Indeed, running business productivity applications inside of a web browser is so awkward and limited, not to mention it is slower, and you cannot use it without Internet connection (e.g. on an airplane). Now it is no longer free, SMBs really should look for better alternatives. has offered cloud IT service to SMBs since 2003. It is a one-stop shop for all core IT services such as file server, email server, FTP server, static web server, online backup, folder synchronization, group file sharing and collaboration with user access control. It has tons of high-end business features all bundled for the same low prices. Our user license costs only $0.6/user/month, why not give it a try?

  • Paul Says:

    That's a pretty reasonable rate. Less than $5 per month per user, no worries about upgrade costs or becoming stuck with outdated software. I use and trust Google apps all the time. This is a sweet deal for a business of any size.

  • Morely Dotes Says:

    Fifty bucks per user per year is nothing (especially since it's a deductible business expense). This is a good move on Google's part.

  • Companyemails Says:

    For everyone crying foul, and implying that they can no longer compete with Office 365, it is worth noting a couple of things:

    1. This move only affects small businesses. Larger organizations have always had to pay, and private individuals and students remain free (though educational institutions also have to pay - at a reduced rate); and

    2. 2013's Office 365 Small Business Premium (which would be the equivalent service from Microsoft) is being sold on a per-user basis, at $150 PER USER PER YEAR (that is 3 times what Google is asking). If you want to Install and manage Office locally and have both local control and 365, the cost is even higher (and MS just raised it by $15 per license per year over last year - see here for pricing details: and Yes there are discounted packages for large organizations, even then it is still considerably more expensive than what Google is offering (that and that's not the focus of this move, which is directed at small businesses).

    BTW, someone please correct me if I'm wrong, but I was under the impression that paid Google Docs accounts (personal, for enterprise or education) did not have adds in them. I thought adds were only present in the free versions and then only when viewed from a desktop/laptop browser. Has that changed?

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