It’s Time For Long-term Small Business Users To Pay, Google Says

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When Google announced in January that its dedicated email service and other work apps would no longer be free for some small businesses, it appeared to have broken its promise with British Columbia’s Richard J. Vancouver.

In 2008, Mr. first created Google work email for his company Your Score Booster. “Basically, they’re arming us to get addicted to this free service and then switch to a paid one,” Dalton said.

Google said former users of previous free versions of G Suite, which included apps like email, Docs and Calendar, should start paying a monthly fee, typically around $6 per business email address. Businesses that do not voluntarily switch to a paid service by June 27 will automatically switch to a paid service. Failure to pay by August 1st will result in account suspension.

While the cost of paid services is more a headache than a financial blow, small business owners impacted by the change say they’re disappointed with the shaky way Google handles the process. They can’t shake the feeling that the multibillion-dollar giant is putting pressure on the little guys, the first companies to use Google apps for work with little money.

Patrick Gantt, owner of Ottawa’s marketing consulting firm Think It Creative, said: “I felt it was an unnecessary trifle. It’s hard to regret anyone who’s been told that they have to pay now after being offered free for so long. .” he said. For that. But something was promised. This is why I decided to use Google compared to other alternatives.”

Google’s decision to charge organizations for using apps for free is another example of how existing businesses are finding ways to make more money. This is similar to sometimes showing 4 ads above the search results instead of 3 and populating the bar with more ads. video. In recent years, Google has been more aggressive in selling software subscriptions to companies and competing more directly with Microsoft, where its Word and Excel programs dominate the market.

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The initial May 1 deadline has been delayed after many existing users complained about the change to the paid service. Google also said that those who use their old accounts for personal, non-business reasons will continue to be able to use it for free.

However, some business owners said they found it difficult to reach customer support while contemplating whether to pay Google or forgo the service. As the deadline approached, six small business owners in an interview with the New York Times criticized the confusion and sometimes hesitancy to communicate about the service change.

“You can start with us,” said Samad Saganlal, owner of Supreme Equipment, which provides software consulting and other technical services in McKinney, Texas. “But don’t give us unrealistic deadlines to look for alternatives in the first place while you’re really deciding if you’re going to fire us.”

Google said the free version doesn’t include customer support, but has provided users with several ways to connect with the company to help them transition.

Google launched Gmail in 2004 and two years later launched business applications such as Docs and Sheets. The search giant is excited that startups and small stores are embracing business software, offering a free service and allowing businesses to bring custom domains that match their business names to Gmail.

While we were still testing the app, we even told business owners that the product would remain free for life. future. Google discontinued the new free subscription in December 2012, but continued to support accounts that were previously known as free versions of G Suite.

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In 2020, G Suite was renamed Google Workspace. The vast majority of people with over 3 billion users use the free version of Workspace. More than 7 million organizations or individuals are paying for a version with additional tools and customer support, up from 6 million in 2020. An official familiar with these figures said that several years ago, the number of users still using the old free version reached thousands. It is the person who requested anonymity as they were not allowed to disclose this number publicly.

Google spokeswoman Katie Watty said in a statement: “We are here to help our customers with this transition, including a significant discount on their Google Workspace subscription.” “You will be taken to your Google Workspace subscription in a few clicks.”

Dalton, who helps Canadian students enroll in US universities, said Google’s forced promotion came at a bad time. He said the coronavirus pandemic is deadly for his business. Exams have been canceled regularly, some universities have suspended exam requirements, and fewer students are seeking preparatory services.

From April 2020 to March 2021, business revenue has been cut in half. The following year, sales fell another 20%. Things are starting to improve in recent months, but score boosters are still lagging behind their pre-pandemic performance.

“At this point, I’m focused on getting my business back,’ said Dalton. “The last thing I want to do is change the service.” So he asked 11 part-timers to use their personal work email addresses and upgraded the other two accounts to the cheapest version of Google Workspace.

Gantt’s business is a one-man shop and has been using Gmail for free since 2004. He said it wasn’t a matter of money. His problem was a problem. He had to contemplate whether he should continue to use Google or whether he should look for other options.

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Gantt is still considering moving to Microsoft Outlook, Apple iCloud, ProtonMail, or staying with Google. He will decide what to do later this month. Microsoft will pay him $100 CAD per year. The price is $50 for Apple and $160 for ProtonMail. Google offers it free for three months and charges the same amount as Apple for one year. Next year, Google’s price will double.

As the only employee of the company, Mr. Saganlal joined Gmail for work in 2009. Years later, when he started his own business, he added his son-in-law, Maisam Jiwani, to his G Suite account. A company called Fast Payment Systems has helped small businesses in states like Texas and New York process credit card payments starting in 2020.

When Sajanlal told Jiwani that Google would charge a fee for each email address, Jiwani said ‘Are you serious? Will they tear us apart?’ he said.

Jiwani said she is considering switching to software provider Zoho because she has transaction data for 3,000 customers stored in Google Drive, but is starting to pay for the company’s services. Sajanlal left Google in March to write work emails on servers hosted by Nextcloud.

Stian Oksavik, who has a side job called BeyondBits, which creates a computer network for clients in Roxahatche, Florida, has now switched to Apple’s iCloud service, which he already had access to as part of a subscription package.

“It’s more about the fact that they changed the rules, not how much they got paid,” Oksavik said. “They can change the rules back at any time.”

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