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posted by janrinok on Wednesday June 22, @08:09AM   Printer-friendly
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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  • (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...

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  • (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.

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  • (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"

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