Sad but true, if you haven’t already signed up your domain for the free version of Google Apps for Business, you are too late. Google announced this past Friday that they are no longer accepting new registrations for the free version of Google Apps. The plus side? Customers who are currently using the free version have been grandfathered in. This is a big deal to small business owners though, who really need a free option for email that is professionally branded to their domain.
Does this mean that Google will start charging for all the other free services they offer, like YouTube and Google+ Local Business Listings? We would not be surprised if Google began a transition to an affordable pricing structure, starting in 2013. The question then becomes, would you pay? Sites like YouTube and Google+ Local are invaluable to search engine optimization and offer incredible online exposure that can make or break a small business. Granted that it is affordable, we believe that many business’s will opt to pay for the same services that were once free.
But as we said, if you signed up before Google’s announcement, you have been grandfathered in! Be aware though that eventually Google may begin to withdraw other features to “entice” you to upgrade your plan. For our clients, we will continue to keep on the lookout for other free email options that are comparable to Google’s platform. We feel confident that other companies will respond to Google’s decision with free options to encourage sign-ups with their services.