Ever since December 6th, the utility suite Google Apps, which up until then was free, became a paid service that costs $50 per year for businesses. Now, there are two varieties of Google Apps: 1) free, aimed towards the common day user for personal use, and 2) Google Apps for Business, which will cost $50 per person or user per year.
Google Apps is an interconnected utility suite designed for business productivity, which offers a larger, customized version of some of its services such as Gmail, Google Groups, Google Drive, Google Talk, Google Calendar, and Google Sites, among others.
These apps improve communication and productivity for businesses, and offer the possibility of collaborative work. Thanks to the cloud storage service, you can work with people that are located in different places around the world, and the same user can pick up where he left off from different devices (computer, smartphone, and tablet).
It’s a service that also offers security, and reduces risks, because the data isn’t stored on a computer in the office, for example. Also, you can use your own domain, and create 10 email accounts with a 7GB capacity each, in addition to other extended services.
Google Apps is not a product that all Internet users take advantage of; rather, it is specifically designed for people, businesses, and nongovernmental organizations that use computers as their main tool for work.
After this change took place, some small and medium businesses have expressed their unwillingness to have to pay the same price as big businesses to use these utilities. In addition, you have to keep in mind that there are similar but free alternatives, such as Zoho and Microsoft Office 365, the latter being backed by Microsoft and the ever more attractive SkyDrive service.
The explanation that Google has given for the change doesn’t go into specifics. However, the main argument is that most businesses would start out using the free version, and later upgrade to the Premium (free up until a few days ago), which offered all the features already mentioned. Because of this, they have decided to dedicate their effort around the Premium version, renaming it Google Apps for Business, and are aiming to improve the service with new features.
Even still, the accounts that small and medium businesses created for Google Apps for Business before December 6th will remain free, as well as accounts for educational institutions. The rest of the businesses will have to pay to use Google Apps for Business.
In other words, they thought that the productivity suite Google Apps for Business was too great of a product to keep being used for free.