I know…two updates in one day! Crazy!!

Nothing in life is free

Until today, I might have argued the toss on this statement. My favourite solutions for email, calendars and cloud storage – Google Apps – has always had a free option. Originally small businesses could have up to 50 free user accounts, all with email addresses for their chosen domain (i.e. user@company.co.uk and not user@googlemail.com). More recently, that user number has been reduced to 10, and I guess the writing was on the wall at some point. But 50 or 10, it was always a great way for new startups to avail of an enterprise-grade collaboration suite.

Today’s announcement from Google means that the free option is now no more. Anyone wishing to use Google Apps will need to sign up for a business account that costs $50 per user per year. It’s not a lot of money, working out at a little over £2 per user per month…less than the proverbial cup of coffee from your nearest tax-dodging outlet.

Existing free accounts

If you already use Google Apps free, then you don’t need to worry. You will not be charged and can carry on using it as long as you like.

The positives

No more ads

Of course, it’s true that nothing is ever totally free, and Google gained revenue from ‘free’ account users by presenting ads to them. If you opt for the business account, then your Google Apps experience will be ad-free. They weren’t hugely intrusive in my experience, but for some they were an annoyance.

More space

Whilst the free account wasn’t exactly stingy on your storage allowance, 10 GB is a lot of data, the business account gives you a whopping 25GB!


Yup, Google will let you call them, 24/7 , to report any issues. No more trawling through forums and googling error messages to work out what’s gone wrong.

More Features

Business and Enterprise users have tended to get new features first, and some have never rolled out to Free users. So, for instance, if you want to get your whole company on Google+, the Business accounts will enable you to do that.

Four Lakes Can Help

If signing up to Google Apps is daunting, then as always Four Lakes can help you out. We’ve been helping companies set up and use Google Apps for years, and this announcement really doesn’t change that. In fact, we are happy to keep our support charges for Business Apps users at the same level as for Free Apps users, since some of that support load will now be shouldered by Google. So if you want to use the best collaboration suite available, and have Four Lakes manage the day to day admin and support activities, then drop us a line.

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