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posted by janrinok on Wednesday June 22, @08:09AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the how-to-lose-customers-during-an-economic-downturn dept.

Google says it's time for longtime small business users to pay up:

[...] Google announced to some small businesses in January that they would no longer be able to use personalized email and other work app[lications].

Google said the free edition doesn't include customer support, but does offer users several ways to contact the company for help with their transition.

Google launched Gmail in 2004 and business applications such as Documents and spreadsheets two years later. The search giant was eager for start-ups and family shops to adopt its work software, so it offered the services for free and allowed companies to bring custom domains matching their business names to Gmail.

While still testing the apps, he even Told business owners that the products would remain free for life, although Google says that from the start, the terms of service for its enterprise software stated that the company could suspend or terminate the offer in the future. Google stopped new free signups in December 2012, but continued to support accounts for what became the old free edition of G Suite.

In 2020, G Suite was rebranded as Google Workspace. The overwhelming majority of people – the company says it has more than three billion users in total – use a free version of Workspace. More than seven million organizations or individuals pay for versions with additional tools and customer support, up from six million in 2020. The number of users still on the free legacy version from years ago counts in the thousands, said a person familiar with the count. who requested anonymity because the person was not authorized to publicly release those numbers.

"We're here to help our customers through this transition, including significant discounts on Google Workspace subscriptions," Google spokeswoman Katie Wattie said in a statement. "Switching to a Google Workspace subscription can be done in a few clicks."


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(1)
  • (Score: -1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @08:21AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @08:21AM (#1255288)

    Aristarchus was guaranteed a life-time account on SoylentNews. Look how that played out. Not the mention the free pass on Boring Company subways, and free shipping with Amazon Primal. Just can't trust anyone, these days.

    • (Score: 0, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @08:43AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @08:43AM (#1255292)

      Ari & APK spam on the one discussion, oh joy.

      I guess I'll have to read at +1 again - I guess I won't see my own posts but hey...

  • (Score: -1, Spam) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @08:22AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @08:22AM (#1255289)

    Guess what Dalek? YOU LOSE, hosts work vs. Symbiote C2 server(s) per this line from a MUCH better article than the one used here from bradley13 per "configuration in the binary that used the git[.]bancodobrasil[.]dev domain as its C2 server" from https://www.intezer.com/blog/research/new-linux-threat-symbiote/ [intezer.com]

    & did I block that in my original posts here https://soylentnews.org/comments.pl?noupdate=1&sid=49835&page=1&cid=1253504#commentwrap [soylentnews.org] on this BOGUS sockpuppet upmodding yourselves shithole website (which also noted FIREWALLS are invaluable here too, per wildcards (or even IP address use, URL domain/subdomain too in many as well))?

    YES I DID! I was correct...

    & YES, hosts work vs. this threat too stupid!

    FACT: hosts files block symbiote C2 servers which is all you really need to do to nullify their communication.

    FACT: Exfiltration isn't possible without orders either.

    FACT: Orders come from C2 servers!

    So YOU LOSE chump... a BETTER ARTICLE than what I used proves it for me!

    * THANKS FOR LOSING TO ME yet again, as always for you... try me again? THIS COMES UP AS PROOF (as well as another I have on YOU regarding using sources where YOU contradict yourself - want quotes of that too? ASK!)

    HOW ESPECIALLY EMBARASSING FOR YOU with your NO-DOUBT self-upmodded by sockpuppet accounts of YOURSELF too - now that YOU have EGG ON YOUR FACE fucko!

    APK

    P.S.=> Do yourself a FAVOR - don't ever, EVER try me ever again OR I WILL MAKE SURE YOU SHIT ON YOURSELF yet again as always, easlly... apk

  • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @08:40AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @08:40AM (#1255290)

    Guess what Dalek? YOU LOSE, hosts work vs. Symbiote C2 server(s) per this line from a MUCH better article than the one used here from bradley13 per "configuration in the binary that used the git[.]bancodobrasil[.]dev domain as its C2 server" from https://www.intezer.com/blog/research/new-linux-threat-symbiote/ [intezer.com]

    & did I block that in my original posts here https://soylentnews.org/comments.pl?noupdate=1&sid=49835&page=1&cid=1253504#commentwrap [soylentnews.org] on this BOGUS sockpuppet upmodding yourselves shithole website (which also noted FIREWALLS are invaluable here too, per wildcards (or even IP address use, URL domain/subdomain too in many as well))?

    YES I DID! I was correct...

    & YES, hosts work vs. this threat too stupid!

    FACT: hosts files block symbiote C2 servers which is all you really need to do to nullify their communication.

    FACT: Exfiltration isn't possible without orders either.

    FACT: Orders come from C2 servers!

    So YOU LOSE chump... a BETTER ARTICLE than what I used proves it for me!

    * THANKS FOR LOSING TO ME yet again, as always for you... try me again? THIS COMES UP AS PROOF (as well as another I have on YOU regarding using sources where YOU contradict yourself - want quotes of that too? ASK!)

    HOW ESPECIALLY EMBARASSING FOR YOU with your NO-DOUBT self-upmodded by sockpuppet accounts of YOURSELF too - now that YOU have EGG ON YOUR FACE fucko!

    APK

    P.S.=> Do yourself a FAVOR - don't ever, EVER try me ever again OR I WILL MAKE SURE YOU SHIT ON YOURSELF yet again as always, easlly... apk

  • (Score: 2) by bradley13 on Wednesday June 22, @09:07AM (2 children)

    by bradley13 (3053) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday June 22, @09:07AM (#1255295) Homepage Journal

    They reference an announcement from Google, but they read it pretty selectively. It says:

    organizations that sign up during the beta period will not ever have to pay for users accepted during that period (provided Google continues to offer the service)

    So: only "beta" users were promised free use forever, and then only for users they defined during the beta period. That's likely to be a pretty small set of users, given this announcement is 18 years old.

    Seriously, it's pretty normal to offer a free beta-tester period, followed by a paid product. Not seeing the problem here...

    --
    Everyone is somebody else's weirdo.
    • (Score: 4, Touché) by helel on Wednesday June 22, @01:06PM

      by helel (2949) on Wednesday June 22, @01:06PM (#1255339)

      What's not normal is to offer beta-testers free use for life. That's what Google did. Given that it's such a small number of users, and probably less each year, reneging on the deal they made just seems like the most petty form of greed.

      --
      Republican Patriotism [youtube.com]
    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by rcamera on Wednesday June 22, @01:34PM

      by rcamera (2360) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday June 22, @01:34PM (#1255343) Homepage Journal

      i was an early "google mail" beta tester from back in the "invite-only" days. they port-scanned for mail-servers and looked for non-open-relay hosts (most were straight-up open relays back then); properly-configured servers had an invite sent to the sysadmin listed in the whois registry for the domain. i was able to refer 3 additional people, and had offers from family/friends in the hundred-dollar range for those referrals. i gave them away (for free) to the 3 most technical people that wanted them

      i moved email for my domain over to them ~11-12 years ago when my personal mail-server started showing signs of hardware sadness. i almost resurrected it when they announced that they would charge $6/mo/user (@4 users) = $24/mo for access to mail on the family domain. proper sendmail configuration is a bitch, but definitely less than $24/mo of a bitch. across my 4 users, we're using less than 2G of space. i couldn't care less about their docs/spreadsheet/etc apps; i want ONLY mail, so the rest of that crap is disabled. then i had to figure out that in order to apply for "keep it free for my family domain", i needed to enable google-docs to submit the form. which would simply fail and say "you must be logged in to submit" (while i was logged in...). that was fun

      the very first problem i noticed with the "google mail" service still exists to this day. never been fixed because it's a "feature" not a "bug" (according to the response i got back then); if you include yourself as a recipient, it's stripped out. that is, i send to someone and cc: myself so that it's auto-filed it in the appropriate folder - but i never get it back, so it's never auto-filed. "because it's already in the sent-items, so you don't need it delivered/auto-moved to a place where you want it and can easily find it"

      --
      /* no comment */
  • (Score: -1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @09:08AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @09:08AM (#1255296)

    Guess what Dalek? YOU LOSE, hosts work vs. Symbiote C2 server(s) per this line from a MUCH better article than the one used here from bradley13 per "configuration in the binary that used the git[.]bancodobrasil[.]dev domain as its C2 server" from https://www.intezer.com/blog/research/new-linux-threat-symbiote/ [intezer.com]

    & did I block that in my original posts here https://soylentnews.org/comments.pl?noupdate=1&sid=49835&page=1&cid=1253504#commentwrap [soylentnews.org] on this BOGUS sockpuppet upmodding yourselves shithole website (which also noted FIREWALLS are invaluable here too, per wildcards (or even IP address use, URL domain/subdomain too in many as well))?

    YES I DID! I was correct...

    & YES, hosts work vs. this threat too stupid!

    FACT: hosts files block symbiote C2 servers which is all you really need to do to nullify their communication.

    FACT: Exfiltration isn't possible without orders either.

    FACT: Orders come from C2 servers!

    So YOU LOSE chump... a BETTER ARTICLE than what I used proves it for me!

    * THANKS FOR LOSING TO ME yet again, as always for you... try me again? THIS COMES UP AS PROOF (as well as another I have on YOU regarding using sources where YOU contradict yourself - want quotes of that too? ASK!)

    HOW ESPECIALLY EMBARASSING FOR YOU with your NO-DOUBT self-upmodded by sockpuppet accounts of YOURSELF too - now that YOU have EGG ON YOUR FACE fucko!

    APK

    P.S.=> Do yourself a FAVOR - don't ever, EVER try me ever again OR I WILL MAKE SURE YOU SHIT ON YOURSELF yet again as always, easlly... apk

  • (Score: 0, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @09:12AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @09:12AM (#1255298)

    APK is an egg-face. Eggy McEggface.

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Rosco P. Coltrane on Wednesday June 22, @10:07AM (4 children)

    by Rosco P. Coltrane (4757) on Wednesday June 22, @10:07AM (#1255307)

    is a bunch of whiny cheapstakes.

    Free shit stops being free after 10 years. Big whoop. Just take comfort in knowing you didn't pay anything for 10 years.

    Of course, now those formerly-lucky "customers" are probably locked in the Google ecosystem - which is probably what Google always wanted from the start with their free offer. Classic bait and switch, with the difference that the switch was always a possibility, and the freeloaders would have known it from the start, had they bothered to read the entire terms of the offer.

    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @11:14AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @11:14AM (#1255314)

      It's not free when you pay for it with your content.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @01:49PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @01:49PM (#1255346)

      Can't wait for them to put a toll-booth on the road in front of your house. You've had free access to that road long enough, and now they're going to monetize it. It was always a possibility to which you agreed, so suck it up and pay. Or are you a whiny cheapskate?

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Rosco P. Coltrane on Wednesday June 22, @03:04PM

        by Rosco P. Coltrane (4757) on Wednesday June 22, @03:04PM (#1255366)

        If it's a Google thoroughfare, yeah it's a possibility. Suck it up.
        If it's a public road, it isn't: public thoroughfares are public. Hence the name "public".

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 23, @12:12PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 23, @12:12PM (#1255568)

      Pay up business owner or we'll delist you and nobody will ever find your business again unless they walk in front of it.

      Giant evil social engineering monopoly asks so little of you and gives so much.

  • (Score: 2) by maxwell demon on Wednesday June 22, @11:19AM (1 child)

    by maxwell demon (1608) on Wednesday June 22, @11:19AM (#1255315) Journal

    Subject says it all.

    --
    The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @12:26PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @12:26PM (#1255326)

      aka, TANSTAAFL

      Rah, rah, RAH!

  • (Score: 2) by Snospar on Wednesday June 22, @11:50AM (4 children)

    by Snospar (5366) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday June 22, @11:50AM (#1255324)

    The odd thing about all of this is that Google have offered to migrate people away from the to-be-paid-for version of the service and onto a free version but they will lose the ability to continue using their custom domain name. If your only using it for personal/family stuff then you can opt in to stay on the free tier with your custom domain indefinitely. The costs are not cheap and as a jump from free seem particularly high especially when you consider others are still getting the same services for nothing.

    You can't even pay Google to provide the domain name for you which seems to be an opportunity missed. Maybe if enough people migrate away to ZoHo or elsewhere Google will think again. I can't see this driving up revenue much in the long term, just pissing off happy "customers" (or "product").

    • (Score: 2) by rcamera on Wednesday June 22, @01:46PM

      by rcamera (2360) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday June 22, @01:46PM (#1255344) Homepage Journal

      $6/user/mo is a lot. as mentioned above, i have 4 users on my domain. i thought it was pretty strange that they would charge me $24/mo for that, but if each of us signed up for a non-custom-domain (*@gmail.com), it would continue to be free. the infrastructure requirements between the two are identical; they're not firing up dedicated mail servers (in fact, the MX IPs are the same as generic gmail. so it's literally a line in config saying "also accept for this domain"). i've been using google as my registrar for 6-8 years, too - so they get a cut of the registration, and all other costs are the same

      all of that leads to my suspicion that in the next few years, they're going to start charging for generic *@gmail.com access, too. then we'll all jump back to hotmail and yahoo, right?

      --
      /* no comment */
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @05:05PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @05:05PM (#1255402)

      Google announced a few weeks back that they were going to let personal (non-commercial) users continue to use the service (including custom domains) for free.

      Google botched the delivery though.

      E.g., if you removed license from gapps to migrate away (they don't let you delete the gapps domain if you also use GCE), they wouldn't let you get back on the free train unless you added back a business use license. After adding the license, they let you select free, but it won't go into effect for months. They then email a confirmation mail that says

      You are receiving this email because you have used the Support Assistant to opt-in to an alternative Workspace experience at no cost. This option is only available to customers who were previously on G Suite legacy free edition and are using Workspace for personal use.

      This email serves as confirmation that you have opted-in and there is no further action needed at this time.

      For next steps:

      You can continue to enjoy your Google Workspace edition for no cost. You will not be billed for your Google Workspace account for the foreseeable future

      But, you guessed it, they immediately start billing, in spite of the above. And, opening a case with google results in essentially, "Go pound sand. You must pay until we get around to converting your account back to free in a few months."

      The issue is that Google keeps saying one thing that is great, then doing a different thing that is not great. They also seem a bit incompetent as a result.

      I spoke with my neighbor who works for google adjacent to their executive management, and she said that there is no awareness/care that google has been alienating their customers. I guess gapps and gce are not big enough money makers to really care about. My employer back in mid 2000s was one of googles first gapps customers, over 100K users. That employer used MS o365 for their most recent deployment-- the folks working there today, decided it was worth setting up entirely new infrastructure to avoid becoming more dependent upon google (which is increasingly being viewed as an unreliable partner).

      Their regular canceling of popular, but apparently not profitable enough, consumer products also adds to the concern that you can't rely on any google product besides search and ads being around in a few years.

      And, their *very* short deadlines between API change + old API deprecation notice, and old API not working at all, will always bring up bitter thoughts of how stressful it was when we couldn't get things to work with their new API until 3 days before the deadline.

      I would never recommend google today. Lots of people I've worked with will say the same.

    • (Score: 2) by JeffPaetkau on Wednesday June 22, @07:34PM

      by JeffPaetkau (1465) on Wednesday June 22, @07:34PM (#1255427)

      Ya, the Zoho pricing structure just makes so much more sense and is a way easier sell to customers. 5 users free webmail or app. If they want to connect to Outlook or 5+ users $1.25/user/month. That is an easy sell and an easy upgrade to paid plans. Google is $8/month/user with no free tier whatsoever. It's admittedly better (particularly SPAM detection) but it's not THAT much better.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 29, @09:40AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 29, @09:40AM (#1256819)

      The odd thing about all of this is that Google have offered to migrate people away from the to-be-paid-for version of the service and onto a free version but they will lose the ability to continue using their custom domain name.

      No, they haven't. They've said they will, then changed their mind when they decided it was too hard. Instead now you can stay on Workspace for free if you are a non-business. Which is really annoying, because Workspace is *worse* than free gmail. I can't have a family youtube subscription on it, for example.

  • (Score: 2) by crafoo on Wednesday June 22, @12:20PM (1 child)

    by crafoo (6639) on Wednesday June 22, @12:20PM (#1255325)

    What, the NSA is having budget cuts? Have to soak the plebs a bit?

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @12:50PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @12:50PM (#1255336)

      yes, they realised long ago that reading every email was always a hiding to nothing. especially by now they probably have the pipes so netted, or hackways into G so embedded, they pay less anyway. Would be interesting to know the glovbal distribution of the 7m paying customers, maybe lots of US biz anyway, and howmany of the 3b are people on android phones barely using more than mail, photos and the basics?

  • (Score: 1) by Coligny on Thursday June 23, @03:08AM

    by Coligny (2200) on Thursday June 23, @03:08AM (#1255506)

    Kill other companies product or prevent them from entering the market against a zero cost option.
    Then go “frack it, now you pay”

    They did a pretty good job at ruining Sketchup already. Can’t wait for the slaughter of google maps navy(sietchup is now an overpriced subscription service or a browser based sick joke…

  • (Score: 2) by Phoenix666 on Thursday June 23, @11:55AM

    by Phoenix666 (552) on Thursday June 23, @11:55AM (#1255563) Journal

    As far as I'm aware, the documents use open file formats, not proprietary ones. So businesses should download all their documents locally, switch to OpenOffice, and get a Dropbox account or something else if they need quick & easy cloud storage.

    There are far too many free and robust alternatives to play Google's game.

    --
    Washington DC delenda est.
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