Google says it’s time for small business users to pay

When Google told small businesses in January that they would no longer be able to use their personalized email service and other workplace apps for free, Richard J. Dalton Jr. seemed a broken promise to a longtime user who takes a school test. -training company in Vancouver, British Columbia.

“It basically strengthens us to switch to something paid for after connecting to this free service,” he said. Dalton first launched a Google work email for your business, Your Score Booster, in 2008.

Google said long-time users of the free G Suite, including email and apps like Docs and Calendar, would have to start paying a monthly fee, typically around $ 6 per business email address. Companies that do not switch to a voluntary paid service by June 27th will be automatically transferred. If they don’t pay in August. 1, their accounts will be suspended.

While the cost of a paid service is more annoying than a severe financial blow, small business owners affected by the change say they are disappointed with the way Ham is dealing with the ham process. They can’t help but notice that a billion-dollar profit-making company is squeezing little boys — some of the first businesses that used Google’s apps for work — for a little money.

“I thought it was a trivial matter,” said Patrick Gant, marketing owner at Think It Creative Ottawa. “It simply came to our notice then. But there was a promise that was made. That forced me to decide to go with other alternatives to Google. ”

Google’s decision to charge organizations that use its apps for free is another example of how to make more money from their business, sometimes with four ads instead of three instead of three and blocking more ads. YouTube videos. In recent years, Google has more aggressively pushed companies to sell software subscriptions and competed more directly with Microsoft, whose Word and Excel programs dominate the market.

After a long time ago, several users complained about the change in a paid service, and a May 1 deadline was postponed. Google also said that people who use old accounts can continue to do so for personal and non-business reasons.

But some business owners said they were considering whether to pay Google or leave its services, in an effort to contact customer support. Towards the end of the term, six small business owners spoke to The New York Times about the confusing and sometimes questionable communications about the change in service.

“I don’t mind being thrown out,” said Samad Sajanlal, owner of Supreme Equipment Company, which specializes in software consulting and other technology services in McKinney, Texas. “But don’t give us any unrealistic time to look for an alternative until you first decide if you really want to throw us out.”

Google said the free edition did not include customer support, but provided users with multiple ways to contact the company to help with the transition.

Google launched Gmail in 2004 and business applications like Docs and Sheets two years later. The search engine giant was eager for start-ups and mom-and-pop stores to take over its working software, so it offered services at no cost and allowed companies to bring custom business domains that matched their business names to Gmail.

While testing the app, it also told business owners that the products would be free for life, even though Google said from the outset that the terms of service for its business software said the company could suspend or terminate the offer. the future Google released new free registrations in December 2012, but the G Suite legacy continued to support accounts known as free editions.

In 2020, G Suite was renamed Google Workspace. The vast majority of people – the company says it has more than three billion users – use the free version of Workspace. More than seven million organizations or individuals are paying for additional tools and customer support versions, more than six million by 2020. The number of users who have been following the traditional free version for years has been thousands, said one person who knows the number. who requested anonymity because the person was not allowed to publicly disclose those numbers.

“We are here to support our customers in this transition, including large discounts on Google Workspace subscriptions,” Katie Wattie, a spokeswoman for Google, said in a statement. “Switching to a Google Workspace subscription can be done in just a few clicks.”

Sir. Dalton, who helps Canadian students enter American universities, said the forced upgrades to Google came at a bad time. The Coronavirus pandemic was devastating for his business, he said. The halls regularly canceled the tests, some universities canceled the test conditions and sought services to prepare fewer students.

From April 2020 to March 2021, corporate revenues fell by almost half. Sales fell another 20 percent the following year. Things have started to improve in recent months, but Your Score Booster is delaying its pre-pandemic performance.

“Right now, I’m focused on reviving my business,” he said. said Dalton. “The last thing I want to do is change a service.” So he asked 11 part-time employees to start using their personal email addresses for work, and upgraded the other two accounts to the cheapest version of Google Workspace.

Sir. Gant’s business is a one-person store, and he’s been using Gmail for free since 2004. He said it wasn’t about money. His problem was the problem. Whether he should continue to use Google or look for another option.

Sir. Gant is still considering moving to Microsoft Outlook, Apple iCloud, or ProtonMail, or joining Google. He will decide at the end of the month what to do. It would cost Microsoft $ 100 a year. Apple would cost $ 50 and ProtonMail $ 160. Google would give him three months for free and then charge him the same amount for Apple for a year. Next year, the price of Google would double.

Sir. Sajanlal, his only business employee, signed up for Gmail Business in 2009. A few years later, he added his brother-in-law, Mesam Jiwani, to his G Suite account when he set up his own business. The company, Fast Payment Systems, has helped small businesses in Texas and New York state process credit card payments since 2020.

Mr. Mr. Sajanlalek Jiwani would start charging Google for each of their email addresses, Mr. Jiwani said, “Are you serious? Will they start breaking us?”

Sir. Jiwani said he had stored transaction data for his 3,000 customers on Google Drive, so he began paying for the company’s services, even though Zoho is considering switching to a software provider. Sir. Sajanlal left Google in March to set up his business email on a server hosted by Nextcloud.

Stian Oksavik, of Loxahatchee, Fla., Who owns a side business called BeyondBits, which sets up computer networks for customers, went to Apple’s iCloud service, which included access to an existing subscription package.

“It was less about the amount they were being charged and more about changing the rules,” he said. said Oksavi. “They can change the rules at any time.”

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