Google says it’s time for small businesses to pay long-term users

When Google told some small businesses in January that they would no longer be able to use email services and other workplace apps for free, Richard J. Dalton Jr., a longtime user, felt the promise of breaking the school exam. – Preparatory company in Vancouver, British Columbia.

“Mostly they are strongly arming us to switch to paid, after they contacted us about this free service,” said Mr. Dalton, who first created Google’s working email for his business, Your Score Booster, in 2008.

Google has said longtime users of what it calls the obsolete free edition of its G Suite, which includes email and apps like Docs and Calendar, should start paying a monthly fee, typically about $ 6 for each business email address. . Businesses that do not voluntarily switch to paid services by June 27 will automatically switch to one. If they do not pay by August 1, their accounts will be suspended.

While the cost of a paid service is more of a nuisance than a severe financial blow, small business owners who are affected by the changes say they are frustrated with the way Google has handled the process. They can’t help but notice that the giant company is making billions of dollars to catch the little boys – some of the first businesses that used Google Apps for work – for little money.

“It seemed like a pointless trifle,” said Patrick Gant, owner of Think It Creative, a marketing consulting firm in Ottawa. “It’s hard to regret someone who has been receiving something for free for a long time and now they say they have to pay. But there was a promise that was made. That’s what made me decide to go to Google against other alternatives. “

Google’s decision to charge organizations that used its apps for free is another example of how it looks for ways to make more money from its existing business, just as it sometimes puts 4 ads instead of 3 in search results and stops more ads. . YouTube videos. In recent years, Google has been pushing more aggressively to sell software signatures to businesses, and has been in more direct competition with Microsoft, whose Word and Excel software dominates the market.

After several long-time customers complained about the change in the paid service, the initial deadline was postponed to May 1st. Google also said that people who use old accounts for personal rather than business reasons can do so for free.

But some business owners said that when they thought about whether to pay Google or opt out of its services, they found it difficult to contact customer support. As the deadline approached, six small business owners who spoke to The New York Times criticized what they said were misunderstood and sometimes hesitant communications about changing services.

“I do not mind releasing us,” said Samad Shanjal, owner of Supreme Equipment Company, which provides software consulting and other technical services in McKinney, Texas. “But do not give us an unrealistic deadline to go and find an alternative until you still decide whether you really want to launch us in the first place.”

Google said the free edition did not include customer support, but it did provide users with several ways to contact the company for assistance with their transition.

Google launched Gmail in 2004 and business applications like Docs and Sheets two years later. The search giant wanted to start and use moms and pop stores using its working software, so it offered services for free and allowed companies to submit customized domains that matched their business names in Gmail.

While he was still testing the apps, he even told business owners that the products would stay free for life, though Google says from the outset, in terms of its business software service, it said the company could suspend or discontinue the offer. The future. Google suspended new free registration in December 2012, but continued to support accounts that became known as the G Suite Legacy Free Edition.

In 2020, G Suite was renamed as 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 versions with additional tools and customer support, up from six million by 2020. The number of users still counted in the free legacy version years ago was in the thousands, said a person familiar with the data. Who asked for anonymity because the person was not allowed to disclose these numbers publicly.

“We’re here to help our customers make that transition, including deep discounts on Google Workspace subscriptions,” said Katie Watty, a Google spokeswoman. “Subscribe to Google Workspace with a few clicks.”

Mr Dalton, who is helping Canadian students get into American universities, said the forced Google upgrade happened at a bad time. He said the coronavirus pandemic was disastrous for his business. Places regularly suspended tests, some universities suspended test requirements, and fewer students sought preparatory services.

From April 2020 to March 2021, business revenue almost halved. Sales fell another 20 percent the following year. The situation has started in recent months, but your score booster is still lagging behind pre-pandemic performance.

“At this point, I’m focused on getting my business back on track,” Mr Dalton said. “The last thing I want to do is change the service.” So he asked his 11-time part-time employee to start using their personal email addresses for work, and he updated the remaining two accounts to the cheapest version of Google Workspace.

Mr. Gant’s business is a one-man shop, and he has been using Gmail for free since 2004. He said it was not about the money. His problem was trouble. He had to figure out whether to continue using Google if he found another option.

Mr Gant is still considering switching to Microsoft Outlook, Apple iCloud or ProtonMail if it joins Google. He decides what to do at the end of the month. Microsoft would cost him $ 100 a year. Apple will cost $ 50 and ProtonMail $ 160. Google would give him three months for free and then pay him the same amount as Apple for one year. Google’s price will double next year.

Mr. Sajanlal, the sole employee of his business, registered with Gmail Business Services in 2009. Years later he added his son-in-law, Third Jivan, to his G Suite account when he started his own business. This company, Fast Payment Systems, has been assisting small businesses in processing credit card payments since 2020, including small businesses in the United States, including Texas and New York.

When Mr. Sajanlal told Mr. Jivan that Google would start paying for each of their email addresses, Mr. Jivan said: “Are you serious? Are they going to ruin us? ”

Mr Jivan said he had stored his 3,000 client transaction data on Google Drive, so he started paying for the company’s services, though he was considering switching to software provider Zoho. Mr Sajanlal parted ways with Google in March and put his business on an email server hosted by Nextcloud.

Stephen Oxawick, who owns a subsidiary called BeyondBits Loxahatchee in Florida that sets up computer networks for clients, has switched to Apple’s iCloud service, which he already had access to as part of an existing subscription package.

“It was less about the amount they were making and more about the fact that they changed the rules,” Mr Oxavik said. “They can change the rules at any time.”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.