Google Says It’s Time for Longtime Small-Business Users to Pay Up

Google Says It’s Time for Longtime Small-Business Users to Pay Up

When Google told some small businesses in January that they would no longer be able to use custom e-mail services and other workplace apps for free, it felt like a broken promise for Richard J. Dalton Jr. Hawa, who has been running academic exams for a long time. Prep Company in Vancouver, British Columbia.

“They’re basically arming us to switch to something to pay for when we’re connected to this free service,” said Mr. Dalton, who launched his business, Your Score Booster, in 2008. For the first time Google Work set up email.

Google said longtime users of what they call the G Suite Legacy Free Edition, which includes email and apps like Docs and Calendar, have to start paying a monthly charge, usually every Approximately $ 6 for a business email address. Businesses that do not switch to volunteer paid service until June 27. Transferred automatically If they do not pay by August 1, their accounts will be suspended.

While the cost of a paid service is more troubling than severe financial losses, small business owners affected by the change say they are disappointed with the way Google has handled the process. They can’t help but feel with a big company Billions of dollars in profits Squeezing little boys – some of the first businesses to use Google Apps for work – for just a small amount.

“It made me feel unnecessarily small,” said Patrick Gent, owner of Think ItCreative, a marketing consultancy in Ottawa. “It’s hard to feel sorry for someone who for a long time got something for free and now they’re being told they have to pay the price. But there was a promise that was made. That’s what Made me decide to go with another alternative to Google.

Google’s decision to charge organizations that use its apps for free is another example of how it can find ways to monetize its existing business, as it sometimes does in search results. But instead of three, they have placed four advertisements and blocked it. More ads In YouTube videos. In recent years, Google has been aggressively pushing businesses to sell software subscriptions and competing directly with them. MicrosoftWhose Word and Excel programs dominate the market.

The May 1 deadline was delayed after several longtime customers complained about changes in paid service. Google also said that people who use old accounts for personal reasons rather than for business reasons can continue to do so for free.

But some business owners said that because they were considering paying Google or giving up its services, they struggled to contact customer support. As the deadline came to an end, six small business owners who spoke to the New York Times criticized him for saying “vague” and sometimes “communication changes”.

“I don’t mind you kicking us,” said Samad Sajin Lal, owner of Supreme Equipment Company, which provides software consulting and other tech services in McKinney, Texas. “But while you’re still deciding if you really want to kick us out first, don’t give us any unrealistic deadlines to go and find an alternative.”

Google says the free edition does not include customer support, but it does provide users with a number of ways to stay in touch with the company to help them make their transition.

Google launched Gmail in 2004 and business apps like Documents and sheets Two years later. Search giant was eager to adopt its work software for startups and moms and pop shops, so it offered free services and allowed companies to bring custom domains to their business names. Match to Gmail

While it was still testing apps, this one too told Business owners say the product will be free for life, although Google says from the outset, the terms of service for its business software state that the company may suspend or terminate the offer in the future. Google stopped new free sign-ups in December 2012 but continued to support these accounts, known as the G Suite Legacy Free Edition.

In 2020, G Suite was rebranded as Google Workspace. The vast majority of people – the company says its total users are over three billion – use the free version of the workspace. More than seven million organizations or individuals are paying for the version with additional tools and customer support, up from six million in 2020. The number of users on the free legacy version is still in the thousands years ago, said one person who asked not to be named because the person was not allowed to disclose the numbers publicly.

Google spokeswoman Katie Watts said in a statement, “We’re here to help our customers make this transition, including deep discounts on Google Workspace subscriptions.” “Moving to a Google Workspace subscription can be done in just a few clicks.”

Mr Dalton, who helps Canadian students enroll in US universities, said Google’s forced upgrades came at a bad time. He said the corona virus epidemic was devastating to his business. Locations regularly canceled tests, some universities suspended test requirements, and very few students received preparation services.

From April 2020 to March 2021, business revenue halved. The following year, sales fell another 20 percent. Things have started to pick up in recent months, but your score booster is still lagging behind its pre-epidemic performance.

“Right now, I’m focusing 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 two part-time employees to start using their personal email addresses for work, and he is considering upgrading the remaining 11 accounts to the cheapest version of Google Workspace.

Mr. Gent’s business is a one-man shop, and he has been using Gmail for free since 2004. “It’s not about money,” he said. Her problem was anxiety. He had to decide whether to continue using Google or to look for another option.

Mr Ghent is still considering whether to move to Microsoft Outlook, Apple iCloud or Proton Mail, or stay with Google. He will decide what to do at the end of the month. Microsoft will spend C 100 100 a year on it. Apple will cost $ 50 and Proton Mail $ 160. Google will give it away for three months for free and then for the same amount as Apple for one year. Google’s price will double next year.

Mr. Sajjan Lal, the sole employee of his business, signed up for the Gmail business service in 2009. Years later, he added his brother-in-law, Maysam Giovanni, to his G-Sweet account when he started his own business. The company, Fast Payment Systems, has helped small businesses process credit card payments in states including Texas and New York since 2020.

When Sajjan Lal told Mr. Giwani that Google would start charging for each of his e-mail addresses, Mr. Giwani said: “Are you serious? Will they start tearing us down?”

Mr Giovanni said he had stored the transaction data of 3,000 of his clients on Google Drive, so he started paying for the company’s services, even though he was considering switching to software provider Zoho. Are Mr. Sajjan Lal left Google in March, set up his business emails on the next cloud.

Stian Oksavik, Joe Loxahatchee, Fla. I have a side business called BeyondBits, which sets up computer networks for clients, moved to Apple’s iCloud service, which it had access to as part of an existing subscription package.

Mr Oxwick said: “It was less about the money they were receiving and more about the fact that they have changed the rules. “They can change the rules at any time.”

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