Google Apps, increasingly the go-to place for small business owners trying to slash IT costs and avoid the expense of buying software, is adapting its offering and service to meet the needs of its small business customers while asking larger businesses to start paying.
Among the changes detailed in a Google blog post this week were:
New flexible billing options
- Customers who sign up online can now use a flexible plan, a new $5 per user per month pricing option which requires no contractual commitment. Businesses can add or remove users as necessary and will automatically be billed for the proper amount;
- Google is also eliminating up-front payments for new users.
Change to Google Apps user limit
- Starting May 10, new organizations (excluding schools and non-profits) with more than 10 users will need to sign up for our paid service, Google Apps for Business, which offers valuable features designed for businesses – customer support, more generous storage limits;
- Only new customers will be impacted; existing Google Apps customers can expand beyond 10 users (up to a maximum of 50) at no additional charge, and Google Apps will continue to be for free to groups with 10 users or fewer. Schools and non-profits that qualify for Google Apps for Education will not be affected.
Fewer steps to get started
- A new “setup wizard,” will make using Google Apps easier. Most customers are now able to complete setup in under one hour, Google predicts:
The company also addressed other planned improvements made with an eye toward small business including: Google Cloud Connect for Microsoft Office, discussions in Google Docs, and an improved control panel for business.