When Google told small businesses in January that they would no longer be able to use the customized email service and other workplace apps for free, it seemed like a broken promise to Richard J. Dalton Jr., a long-time consumer who is pursuing an academic experiment. -prep company in Vancouver, British Columbia.
“They help us a lot to change payments after they make us engage in this free service,” said Mr. Dalton, who first launched the Google work email for his business, Your Score Booster, in 2008.
Google said long-term users of what it calls its free version of G Suite legacy, which includes emails and apps such as Documents and Calendars, were forced to start paying monthly fees, usually about $ 6 per business email address. Businesses that do not voluntarily change until payment service by June 27 will be automatically transferred to a single service. If they do not pay by August 1, their accounts will be suspended.
Although the cost of paid services is more annoying than the complex financial crisis, small business owners affected by the change say they are disappointed with how Google handled the process. They can refrain from feeling that a large multibillion-dollar company is squeezing small people – some of the first businesses to use Google apps to work – for just a small amount of money.
“It fascinated me as a very small thing,” said Patrick Gant, owner of Think It Creative, a marketing consultant in Ottawa. “It is difficult to sympathize with a person who has received something for free for a long time and is now told that he has to pay. But there was a promise that was made. That’s what compelled me to make the decision to go with Google against other alternatives. ”
Google’s decision to charge organizations that have used its software for free is another example of its search for ways to earn more money from its existing business, similar to how it sometimes places four ads on search results instead of three and stuck ads. more. on YouTube videos. In recent years, Google has pushed harder to sell software registrations for businesses and competed directly with Microsoft, whose Word and Excel programs dominate the market.
After some long-time users complained about changes in paid service, the May 1 deadline was delayed. Google also said people who use old accounts for personal reasons instead of business can continue to do so for free.
But some business owners said that when they were considering paying Google or leaving its services, they had difficulty communicating with customer support. As the deadline approaches, six small business owners who spoke to The New York Times criticized what they said was a confusing and sometimes volatile communication communication service.
“I do not mind being fired,” said Samad Sajanlal, owner of Supreme Equipment Company, which specializes in software and other technology services in McKinney, Texas. “But don’t give us a false deadline to go looking for alternatives while you still decide if you want to get rid of us the first time.”
Google stated that the free version did not include customer support, but provided users with many ways to contact the company for help with their changes.
Google launched Gmail in 2004 with business applications such as Google Docs and Tables two years later. The search engine was passionate about startups and women’s stores and pop-ups using its work software, so it provided those services at no cost and allowed companies to bring up specific domains that match their business names on Gmail.
While still testing the software, it even told business owners that the products would remain free for life, although Google states that from the outset, the terms and conditions of its business software stated that the company could suspend or terminate the version. later. Google suspended new subscriptions free of charge in December 2012 but continued to use accounts for what came to be known as the free G Suite version.
In 2020, G Suite was renamed Google Workspace. The vast majority of people – the company says it has more than three billion users – use the free version of Workspace. More than seven million organizations or individuals pay for donations using additional tools and customer support, from six million by 2020. The number of users who are still on the unpaid version of the legacy of previous years has been counted in the thousands, said someone familiar with the calculation. who requested anonymity because the person was not allowed to make public those numbers.
“We are here to help our clients with these changes, including in-depth discounts on Google Workspace registrations,” Katie Wattie, a Google spokeswoman, said in a statement. “Moving to Google Workspace registration can be done with a few clicks.”
Bw. Dalton, who helps Canadian students enter U.S. universities, said Google’s forced improvement came at a bad time. The coronavirus epidemic was serious for its trade, he said. Experimental facilities were regularly canceled, some universities suspended test requirements, and a few students sought preparatory services.
From April 2020 to March 2021, business revenue declined by almost half. Sales dropped 20 percent the following year. Things have started to improve in recent months, but Your Mark Improvement is still lagging behind in its pre-catastrophic performance.
“At the moment, I am focused on getting my business done,” he said. Dalton said. “The last thing I want to do is change services.” So he asked his 11 part-time employees to start using their personal emails at work, and upgraded the remaining two accounts to the cheaper version of Google Workspace.
Mr. Business. Gant is a one-man shop, and has been using Gmail for free since 2004. He said it was not about the money. His problem was the problem. He had to think about whether he would continue to use Google or search for another option.
Bw. Gant is still considering moving to Microsoft Outlook, Apple iCloud or ProtonMail, or connecting to Google. He will decide what to do at the end of the month. Microsoft would cost him $ 100 a year. Apple would cost $ 50 and ProtonMail $ 160. Google would give him three months free of charge and then charge the same amount as Apple for one year. The following year, Google’s price would double.
Bw. Sajanlal, the sole employee of his business, signed up for the Gmail business service in 2009. Several years later, he added his brother-in-law, Mesam Jiwani, to his G Suite account when he started his own business. The company, Quick Payment Systems, has helped small businesses in states including Texas and New York handle credit card payments since 2020.
When Mr. Sajanlal told Mr. Note that Google will start charging for each of their emails, Mr. Jiwani said: “Are you careful? Will they start to provoke us? ”
Bw. Jiwani said he stored transaction data for his 3,000 customers on Google Drive, so he started paying for the company’s services, although he is considering changing the Zoho app provider. Bw. Sajanlal moved from Google in March, and launched his business email on a server operated by Nextcloud.
Stian Oksavik, who owns a side business called BeyondBits in Loxahatchee, Fla., Which runs computer networks for customers, moved to Apple’s iCloud service, which he was already accessing as part of an existing subscription package.
“It was a little bit about the amount they charge and more about the fact that they changed the law,” he said. Oksavik said. “They can change the law again at any time.”