Google announces end of free Apps offering

Google has just announced via its Google Apps blog that the company will no longer accept any new sign ups for their free version of Google Apps.

We knew it was coming some time ago when the sign up page disappeared from the company website, but didn't know when it happened. Google seemingly confirmed the move today, saying that the company would no longer accept signups at all. Unless customers are already using Google Apps, they will not be able to switch onto the free plan. If they are, you can still switch from paid to free, but only in the next thirty days.

The company said that "businesses quickly outgrow the basic version and want things like 24/7 customer support and larger inboxes." They went on to say that "For Businesses, instead of two versions, there will be one. Companies of all sizes will sign up for our premium version, Google Apps for Business, which includes 24/7 phone support for any issue, a 25GB inbox, and a 99.9% uptime guarantee with no scheduled downtime. Pricing is still $50 per user, per year."

It makes sense for the company to change the plans like this, but it's bad news for those looking for free hosting on a personalized domain. It could even end up pushing more users towards Microsoft's Outlook.com service, since that's free to use with personalized domains, but only time will tell.

Source: Google Blog

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I had a heart attack when I read this and had to double check my google apps accounts to make sure they were still free.

I hope they don't go retroactive on old users in the future.

splur said,
I had a heart attack when I read this and had to double check my google apps accounts to make sure they were still free.

I hope they don't go retroactive on old users in the future.

Existing Google Apps free users still get it for free. This applies to those who want to switch from paid to free or new signups.

splur said,
I had a heart attack when I read this and had to double check my google apps accounts to make sure they were still free.

I hope they don't go retroactive on old users in the future.

They have not done so in the past. When they imposed the 20 user restriction they didn't make it retroactive. I still have my 50 user cap.

we have 60+ users and pay $50/user/year. It is a heck of alot easier than trying to run your own email server. my users have already delved into sites, drive, docs, etc. It's a great ecosystem and how do you beat 99.9% uptime?

the420kid said,
we have 60+ users and pay $50/user/year. It is a heck of alot easier than trying to run your own email server. my users have already delved into sites, drive, docs, etc. It's a great ecosystem and how do you beat 99.9% uptime?

Easy: superior quality. Let's face it, Google's online services are much more experimental than anybody else's... they simply have the resources to call them "Beta" all the time (or not) and make it available to everybody... but in the end, they are still experimental and remain inferior to more-specialized services.

the420kid said,
we have 60+ users and pay $50/user/year. It is a heck of alot easier than trying to run your own email server. my users have already delved into sites, drive, docs, etc. It's a great ecosystem and how do you beat 99.9% uptime?

I guess you don't have your own domain? Because if you do and you use business apps, this will cost you huge. Much more than $50.

yarddog said,

I guess you don't have your own domain? Because if you do and you use business apps, this will cost you huge. Much more than $50.

Just like with everything else. Is Microsoft giving away for free? No, Microsoft charges 6+ bucks a month per user if you want to have similar functionality and that's more expensive than google.

Nas said,

Easy: superior quality. Let's face it, Google's online services are much more experimental than anybody else's... they simply have the resources to call them "Beta" all the time (or not) and make it available to everybody... but in the end, they are still experimental and remain inferior to more-specialized services.

Google Apps is experimental? Clearly stated by someone who never used it. Google Apps by far superior to anything out there. Microsoft's services are a MESS and more expensive btw.

HA HA HA HA did you all really think google would always give away stuff for free when their stock is in a slide and their revenue stream isn't growing.

get used to it. I wouldn't put it pass them to start charging for android. after all what are OEMs going to do?

neonspark said,
HA HA HA HA did you all really think google would always give away stuff for free when their stock is in a slide and their revenue stream isn't growing.

get used to it. I wouldn't put it pass them to start charging for android. after all what are OEMs going to do?

It's the same move Microsoft has made hundreds of times and the reason why Google swore it was different and adopted the 'don't be evil' slogan. To which Microsoft fired back with 'Scroogled' claiming Google is just as evil as they are.

I rather pay in currency instead of other ways. So if paying for Android means it becomes save to use Google then I'm all for it. But I doubt it, I will probably see advertisement on Google aimed directly at my searches from the day before for the rest of my life.

neonspark said,
HA HA HA HA did you all really think google would always give away stuff for free when their stock is in a slide and their revenue stream isn't growing.

get used to it. I wouldn't put it pass them to start charging for android. after all what are OEMs going to do?


Umm they kind of already do charge for Android. Unless an OEM decides they don't want to use the Google Apps like Gmail and Calendar and Maps, then it's free. Otherwise its not.

neonspark said,
HA HA HA HA did you all really think google would always give away stuff for free when their stock is in a slide and their revenue stream isn't growing.

get used to it. I wouldn't put it pass them to start charging for android. after all what are OEMs going to do?

I'm not sure what you are complaining about.. everyone who has Google Apps for free will continue having it for free. This only applies to those who have paid accounts now and want to switch back to free (they can do that in the next 30 days). Going forward their Google Apps will not be free.

How does that make Google evil? You pay for everything else and you haven't been paying for Google's stuff. And you whine and complain? Geez.

That's a bummer......!
I'm using several free accounts for non-profit clubs, they can't afford $50 per user a year... We use it for collaboration on Drive. I hope they don't change their mind about the current free accounts in the near future...

hanneman said,
That's a bummer......!
I'm using several free accounts for non-profit clubs, they can't afford $50 per user a year... We use it for collaboration on Drive. I hope they don't change their mind about the current free accounts in the near future...

I think non-profit is free, you have to go through an application process though to verify you are eligible

Well it was a matter of time.. everyone was using this for free and opening accounts left and right. Come on people, $50 a year is not a lot for what you get. Their paid service (I've been using it for years now) is fantastic. 99% uptime, super fast and they allow multiple users. So for $50 a year you get huge storage, multiple accounts, full Google Apps Business access and support.

This is not a bad deal at all. If you want personal mail sign up for gmail or hotmail or yahoo or use your mail server on your hosting.

Boz said,
Well it was a matter of time.. everyone was using this for free and opening accounts left and right. Come on people, $50 a year is not a lot for what you get. Their paid service (I've been using it for years now) is fantastic. 99% uptime, super fast and they allow multiple users. So for $50 a year you get huge storage, multiple accounts, full Google Apps Business access and support.

This is not a bad deal at all. If you want personal mail sign up for gmail or hotmail or yahoo or use your mail server on your hosting.

if you're going to pay, may as well pay for office 365. superior apps, much better enterprise support. you could forgive google's flaws for the price. but if you're paying, why pay for inferiority?

Boz said,
Well it was a matter of time.. everyone was using this for free and opening accounts left and right. Come on people, $50 a year is not a lot for what you get. Their paid service (I've been using it for years now) is fantastic. 99% uptime, super fast and they allow multiple users. So for $50 a year you get huge storage, multiple accounts, full Google Apps Business access and support.

This is not a bad deal at all. If you want personal mail sign up for gmail or hotmail or yahoo or use your mail server on your hosting.

Keep in mind that they charge $5.00 per email address for business domain per month. So if only if you have 2 email addresses, plus this $50, its nearly $200 per year overall. This is not cheap. MS has a better thing going now.

Disappointing to read. Its a great service. When I signed up it had 50 max mailboxes and 10Gb of storage per mailbox. They nurfed it a while back and now its gone one step further. It's a shame to see as I would easily recommend it for any small business but I think that's the reason for this move as I would imagine the free version does enough for most small business so why pay for the upgrade?
Now people are forced to pay I would move to Office 365.

SK[ said,]Disappointing to read. Its a great service. When I signed up it had 50 max mailboxes and 10Gb of storage per mailbox. They nurfed it a while back and now its gone one step further. It's a shame to see as I would easily recommend it for any small business but I think that's the reason for this move as I would imagine the free version does enough for most small business so why pay for the upgrade?
Now people are forced to pay I would move to Office 365.

Yes but they never imposed new restrictions on existing "customers". I don't see them actually dropping the free accounts without providing some kind of migration path. I have a ton of stuff attached to my google apps account. To migrate that to a non-apps account would be a nightmare and I'm not even sure if just converting it to a basic google account is possible...

(i.e. my google wallet is actually attached to my google apps account)

Choto Cheeta said,
How many users are allowed with Microsoft hosted plan and does it offer IMAP / POP like Google used to do ?

WL Custom Domain allows 500 users. It also support EAS which is better than both POP and IMAP solutions.

ranpha said,

WL Custom Domain allows 500 users. It also support EAS which is better than both POP and IMAP solutions.

Yes but it doesn't support aliases. I don't want individual account/passports for admin, ssladmin, and postmaster accounts.

I guess I'm going to start migrating a pair of domains now... cuz, really, this **** is quite the opposite of "don't be evil."

Nas said,
I guess I'm going to start migrating a pair of domains now... cuz, really, this **** is quite the opposite of "don't be evil."

Yeah, those *******. All those years providing a service you paid absolutely nothing for. The gaul...

farmeunit said,

Yeah, those *******. All those years providing a service you paid absolutely nothing for. The gaul...

How much did Google pay you for that one?!

farmeunit said,

Yeah, those *******. All those years providing a service you paid absolutely nothing for. The gaul...

Oh you definatly paid for those services.

I'm pretty sure he understands that 'free' does not mean 'without any sort of recompense for Google of any sort'. But it is 'free' as in you don't physically pay Google anything. Sheesh.

farmeunit said,

Yeah, those *******. All those years providing a service you paid absolutely nothing for. The gaul...

10 years ago, Google's sales pitch was, "free access to everything" like rainbows and ponies and email, search, voice extensions, IM services, source code... Today, it's "(cough) (cough) gimme your money (cough) (cough)".

They tried to earn the good graces of the digital world by sharing their technology and information in an attempt to earn netizens' trust. Heck, their corporate motto was, "don't be evil."

In the past few years, they have kept their technology close to the vest, shuttered countless incubation projects (even those they bought for fear that they would generate enough momentum as to potentially challenge Google's previous investments in arbitrary competitive spaces), increased their mimicry of competitors' offerings, and dramatically reduced end-user access to all of the above (read: even for shuttered projects, source code is not shared as it once was).

Bottom line: independent developers and businesses rely on the mutual trust between service providers, themselves, and their customers. The implications for reducing their offerings would have a direct impact on micro businesses which had planned on using them as a stepping stone to greater things. Now, though, that's all history... it's not going to happen... and so the world moves on without Google.

Office 365 is a much better deal, might be a bit more than 50$ a year but you get so much more, on the other hand if it's free you want there's Outlook.com and Skydrive.com

Google's execs are playing the "Shoot first then aim" approach, while this method can be good for Google's pockets, it's not good for end users. Microsoft might be a bit slower to offer solutions sometimes but at least they aim before they shoot so you don't end-up with a half baked product that will just get trashed or changed to a paid service once Google had time to test the market.

NocturnalAlloy said,
Office 365 is a much better deal, might be a bit more than 50$ a year but you get so much more, on the other hand if it's free you want there's Outlook.com and Skydrive.com

Google's execs are playing the "Shoot first then aim" approach, while this method can be good for Google's pockets, it's not good for end users. Microsoft might be a bit slower to offer solutions sometimes but at least they aim before they shoot so you don't end-up with a half baked product that will just get trashed or changed to a paid service once Google had time to test the market.

Office 365 is TERRIBLE.. Google Apps run circles around it. Outlook.com and their web email is equally terrible.

Boz said,

Office 365 is TERRIBLE.. Google Apps run circles around it. Outlook.com and their web email is equally terrible.

As someone who use Google Apps here, I can confidently say that Google Doc is a terrible software especially if you want to share things with people that doesn't use the service. Why is that Google Doc doesn't support creating/editing OpenDocument and Microsoft Office file formats? Why is that everything need to be converted to Google own's proprietary format?

Glassed Silver said,
That's weird, because just recently I thought about moving my domain's email hosting to Google...
Probably not anymore I guess.

GS:mac

Why not? You still have a month to switch over.

SharpGreen said,

Why not? You still have a month to switch over.

"Google has just announced via its Google Apps blog that the company will no longer accept any new sign ups for their free version of Google Apps."
(article)

Uhm... no?

GS:mac

Glassed Silver said,

"Google has just announced via its Google Apps blog that the company will no longer accept any new sign ups for their free version of Google Apps."
(article)

Uhm... no?

GS:mac

I've long debated a move to Outlook.com (going back to the old Hotmail) but one of the things keeping me on Google Apps at the moment is the integration with Android. It is a pity that they are indeed killing off new signups. I hope they do not decide to kill the service as a whole for free users.

At the moment I have an active custom domain if nothing more than to make sure my passport login works 100% properly. There is a weird bug that if your passport at one point was attached to a custom domain you might not be able to access any of your account pages on it when the custom domain is cancelled. I went through that a while back and recreated it on a wild hunch and it worked.

Glassed Silver said,
That's weird, because just recently I thought about moving my domain's email hosting to Google...
Probably not anymore I guess.

GS:mac

Same here.... currently use a live custom domain but was thinking about switching over to google because it offers much more on the back end than live custom domain does in terms of managing the accounts.

I could sign up and move today but to me this is the first step to them totally eliminating the free service.

I also do somewhat question that the live custom domain will be a long term option. The website is still the old design style and even has the live name which they are moving away from.

For what I want office 365 wont work very well either. I actually prefer the outlook.com interface to the "real" outlook and skydrive to sharepoint, etc. To me their consumer offerings are more streamlined and fits in to the metro style. Hopefully ms will market the live custom domain to that crowd and add in some more backend management features and let the accounts in a custom domain collaborate better than they do now.

chAos972 said,
Probably costing them too much to run.

They made 1 billion on the paid side last year, so I doubt it is hurting them.

primexx said,
damnit. now who do we go to for personal domain email hosting?

I dunno this is kind of weird actually, you'd think they would want personal domains to use their services, it just increases their userbase.

primexx said,
damnit. now who do we go to for personal domain email hosting?

Microsoft? as far as I know they still offer a "for-your-domain" version of either hotmail or outlook.

primexx said,
damnit. now who do we go to for personal domain email hosting?

You can use Microsoft's Outlook.com service. As soon as they upgraded from the old Hotmail I migrated one of my personal domains to manage my mail, contacts and files. It is my current Microsoft account now and I couldn't be happier with it. Try it.

I'd also highly recommend Microsoft's Custom Domains. Accounts are set up and managed through a central interface; each address is a Microsoft account so the user gets seamless webmail access (through Hotmail/Outlook.com) and can also use it to sign into Microsoft products and services (Windows 8, Skype, SkyDrive, etc.).

You may need to change the server settings in the email client, depending on how you configured it previously; email clients that support DeltaSync/Exchange ActiveSync can be reconfigured to use that so that emails are seamlessly synchronised with the server (IMAP/POP/SMTP are still fully supported, of course).

http://www.domains.live.com

Its a great service, I use it myself (and push 365 for businesses). It does show the consumer dangers though of how quickly free products can evaporate. MS doing the same thing eventually wouldn't surprise me. Right now though its another weapon they have on the table.

Arkose said,
I'd also highly recommend Microsoft's Custom Domains. Accounts are set up and managed through a central interface; each address is a Microsoft account so the user gets seamless webmail access (through Hotmail/Outlook.com) and can also use it to sign into Microsoft products and services (Windows 8, Skype, SkyDrive, etc.).

You may need to change the server settings in the email client, depending on how you configured it previously; email clients that support DeltaSync/Exchange ActiveSync can be reconfigured to use that so that emails are seamlessly synchronised with the server (IMAP/POP/SMTP are still fully supported, of course).

http://www.domains.live.com

Yeah this is exactly what the Google Apps setup did, but some people like the Google eco-system better then Microsoft's, especially if you have an Android phone. It sucks for people who just want to integrate their custom domain into google services for personal use.

Does this mean for personal use also? Wow this sucks, so when I run a little domain with 1-4 users and I just want basic Google App/Gmail Integration I have to pay $50 per user per year now? That totally blows, especially since Google is making money off showing ads in the Gmail window...

xendrome said,
Does this mean for personal use also? Wow this sucks, so when I run a little domain with 1-4 users and I just want basic Google App/Gmail Integration I have to pay $50 per user per year now? That totally blows, especially since Google is making money off showing ads in the Gmail window...

"This change has no impact on customers who are already using the free version. They can continue to use Google Apps for free."

From the source.

SharpGreen said,

"This change has no impact on customers who are already using the free version. They can continue to use Google Apps for free."

From the source.

I don't mean current setups, I mean in the future. It seems like they believe "Google Apps Free" was only being used by "businesses"

xendrome said,

I don't mean current setups, I mean in the future. It seems like they believe "Google Apps Free" was only being used by "businesses"

Oh. Sounded like you meant now. Nevermind then.

That's a bummer... I used that for some of my clients that were smaller they really enjoyed that. I think they killed it because it was really an amazing offering. Least they will let all those who signed up prior to keep their accounts.

brink668 said,
That's a bummer... I used that for some of my clients that were smaller they really enjoyed that. I think they killed it because it was really an amazing offering. Least they will let all those who signed up prior to keep their accounts.

Yep.. same here. Pretty disappointed.