Many business and individuals have enjoyed using Google Apps over the past few years as a cheap or free way to get some good cloud-based applications for team collaboration and accessibility anywhere you have a network connection. But now, it’s become not-so-free for businesses.
Google today announced that Apps for new business customers would be moving to a single paid version rather than the previous two-tier (paid and free) model they have been using.
The free option, introduced at a organization size limit of 200 users, has been reduced over time down to a point of 10 users, and now, no free option for business. The new model continues new account signup for free for individuals, but business will have to pony up $50 per user, per year. For that Google promises 24/7 phone support, a 25GB inbox, and 99.9% uptime with no scheduled downtime.
This only affects new users and accounts, not existing ones. If you’ve been happily using Google Apps at your business on the free basis for a while, you can continue to do so.