Google charges for web programs

Google has introduced a paid-for version of its web applications it hopes will be popular with small firms.

The paid version adds more storage, phone help and guarantees of availability to the Gmail, calendar, word processing and messaging package.

Industry analysts suggest the move is aimed squarely at Microsoft and its Office suite of programs.

At the same time BT and Microsoft signed a deal to create a marketplace of web-based programs for small firms.

Google's new service costs $50 (£27 or 40 euros) for every account and for this customers get phone support, a guarantee that the online applications will work 99.9% of the time and 10 gigabytes of storage for each e-mail address.

View: BBC News

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Google has always offered free versions of their software, such as earth. even with google apps, they still have a free version (with the exception of the domain name)...

If you're charging for it then it's hardly an alternative to Microsoft Office. Why pay for software with so few features when you can have Office?

OpenOffice is an alternative because, although you don't get many features, you also don't have to pay for it.

Okay, can you read?! It's FREE, you have an OPTION to buy subscription which includes SUPPORT and extra space on Gmail, which average users doesn't even need, otherwise you can use it like until now. Learn to read, you won't be able to use any of that without ability to read. Oh, and if you think MS is cheaper, you have to buy Office and then pay extra for support (after free period). Yeah, nice comparison, fanboy.