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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: 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.