Google Screws Over Small Businesses & Consumers

Google AppsI’ll be the first to admit – There are some topics of which I have very strong opinions.This is one of them.There are reports coming out today that indicate that Google will no longer be offering the free version of Google Apps. I haven’t yet seen a date for this to take effect, however I think that this is a decision that will greatly impact small businesses and individuals.Since Google Apps for Business came out, there was a desire for small businesses to take advantage of the Gmail / Google Calendar infrastructure. They accomplished this by offering a free version of Google Apps for Businesses. This service was almost identical to the premium version, however it had mailbox quotas and a few minordifferences. None of these, however, were any reason not to use Google Apps. As a freelance web designer and web consultant, I oftentimes recommended the free version to my clients. cPanel, by default, only included SquirrelMail, which is a terrible option for small businesses looking to effectively use email and calendaring options within their organization. Now, that’s not possible.Also, many families create blogs to share what’s happening in their lives. Some of these families (like ours) has a primary “family email address” that we use for our utilities, and other bills. This way we can all see what’s coming through. The best way for this has been through the free version of Google Apps. Needless to say, paying $50/user/year is not a worthwhile investment for families to have this as a viable solution.I love Google, trust me, I do. But I think this decision will severely impact small businesses and families who don’t want to pay for email services. Sure, they can create an @gmail.com address, but that’s not nearly as professional as @yourdomain.com. I’m sure Google doesn’t see their focusing of resources as a problem, but trust me, small businesses always pay the price.For more info about this announcement, read this easy-to-follow article from CNet.

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