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It’s Time For Long-term Small Business Users To Pay Up, Says Google

When Google announced in January that its dedicated email service and other business applications would no longer be free for some small businesses, it appeared to have broken its promise to British Columbia’s Richard J. Vancouver.

In 2008, M. first created Google Business Email for his company Your Score Booster. “Basically, they’re arming us to get addicted to this free service and then switch to a paid service,” Dalton said.

Google said that longtime users of previous free versions of G Suite, which included apps like Email, Documents and Calendar, should start paying a monthly fee, typically around $6 per work email address. Businesses that do not voluntarily upgrade to a paid service by June 27 will automatically switch to a paid service. Failure to pay before August 1st will result in account suspension.

While the cost of paid services is more of a headache than a financial hit, small business owners affected by the change say they’re disappointed with the shaky way Google is handling the process. They can’t help but think that the billionaire behemoth is putting pressure on the little ones, the first companies to use Google apps to work on a shoestring.

Patrick Gantt, owner of Ottawa-based marketing consultancy Think It Creative, said: “I thought it was unnecessary nonsense. It’s hard to regret someone who was told they had to pay now after being offered free for so long.” .” he said. For this. But something was promised. That’s why I decided to use Google instead of other alternatives.”

Google’s decision to charge organizations for free use of apps is another example of how existing companies are finding ways to make more money. This is like sometimes showing 4 ads above the search results instead of 3 and filling the bar with more ads. video. In recent years, Google has been more aggressive in selling business software subscriptions and has competed more directly with Microsoft, where its Word and Excel programs dominate the market.

The original May 1 deadline was pushed back after many existing users complained about the switch to paid service. Google also said that people who use old accounts for personal, non-business reasons will be able to continue using them for free.

However, some business owners said they were having trouble contacting customer service as they considered paying Google or canceling service. As the deadline approached, six small business owners in an interview with criticized confusion and sometimes hesitation in communicating about the service change.

“You can start with us,” said Samad Saganlal, owner of Supreme Equipment, which provides software consulting and other technical services in McKinney, Texas. “But don’t give us unrealistic deadlines to research alternatives in the first place while you actually decide whether to fire us.”

Google said the free version doesn’t include customer support, but it has given users several ways to connect with the company to help them make the switch.

Google launched Gmail in 2004, and business apps like Docs and Sheets two years later. The search giant is delighted that startups and small stores are embracing the business software, offering a free service and allowing businesses to add custom domains that match their company names in Gmail.

While we were still testing the app, we even told business owners that the product would be free for life. coming. Google discontinued the new free subscription in December 2012, but continued to support accounts that were previously known as free versions of G Suite.

In 2020, G Suite was renamed Google Workspace. The vast majority of people with over 3 billion users use the free version of Workspace. More than 7 million organizations or individuals pay for a version with additional tools and customer support, up from 6 million in 2020. A manager familiar with those numbers said that several years ago, the number of users still using the free version previous reached thousands. This is the person who requested anonymity as she was not authorized to release this number publicly.

Google spokeswoman Katie Watty said in a statement: “We’re here to help our customers through this transition, including a significant discount on their Google Workspace subscription.” “You will be redirected to your Google Workspace subscription in just a few clicks.”

Dalton, who helps Canadian students enroll in American universities, said Google’s forced promotion came at a bad time. He said that the coronavirus pandemic is deadly for his business. Tests have been regularly canceled, some universities have suspended test requirements, and fewer students are seeking preparation services.

From April 2020 to March 2021, business revenue was cut in half. The following year, sales fell another 20%. Things are starting to pick up in recent months, but score drivers are still lagging behind their pre-pandemic performance.

“Right now, my focus is on getting my business back” Dalton said. “The last thing I want to do is change the service”. So he asked his part-time employee to use his personal work email address, and he plans to upgrade the remaining 11 accounts to the cheaper version of Google Workspace.

Gantt’s business is a sole proprietorship and he’s been using Gmail for free since 2004. He said it wasn’t about the money. His problem was a problem. He had to wonder if he should keep using Google or look for another option.

Gantt is still considering moving to Microsoft Outlook, Apple iCloud, ProtonMail, or staying with Google. He will decide what to do at the end of this month. Microsoft will pay you $100 CAD per year. The price is $50 for Apple and $160 for ProtonMail. Google offers it free for three months and charges the same as Apple for a year. Next year, Google’s price will double.

As the company’s sole employee, Mr. Saganlal joined Gmail for work in 2009. Years later, when he started his own business, he added his son-in-law, Maisam Jiwani, to his G Suite account. A company called Fast Payment Systems has been helping small businesses in states like Texas and New York process credit card payments starting in 2020.

When Sajanlal told Jiwani that Google would charge a fee for each email address, Jiwani said, “Are you serious? Will they destroy us? ” he said.

Jiwani said he’s considering switching to software provider Zoho because he has transaction data from 3,000 customers stored in Google Drive, but he’s starting to pay for the company’s services. Sajanlal left Google in March to write professional emails at Nextcloud.

Stian Oksavik, who has a side job called BeyondBits, which creates a computer network for clients in Roxahatche, Florida, has now switched to Apple’s iCloud service, which he already had access to as part of a data subscription plan.

“It’s more about the fact that they changed the rules, not how much they paid,” Oksavik said. “You can change the rules at any time.”

Article Source : https://www.nytimes.com/2022/06/20/technology/google-gsuite-small-business-fee.html

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