Google To Roll Out Fee-Based Google Apps?

Google Steps Into Microsoft’s Office from BusinessWeek covers how Google appears ready to begin charging corporations for use of Google Apps, which is free at this time.

I suspect the “subscription fee amounting to a few dollars per person per month” described in the article is to allow Google to offer support for these products, which will encourage more companies to adopt Google’s office applications (Gmail, Docs, Spreadsheets, etc.) in their main work environment.

This becomes a more likely reason given Google’s recent troubles with some of their applications not being up for several hours last week. A paid subscription will give users of Google’s applications a way to reach someone who can give them a status report on the fix.

In fact, in 25 Things I Hate About Google by Danny last year, he asked in #23:

Charge for things! Seriously, I’m getting frightened. I love that anyone can get free analytics, email, you name it from you. But I’m fearful that people also can’t get support for when things go wrong. I think this guy’s still trying to get an official response on what happened to his lost Gmail account. Meanwhile, I worry that companies I want competing with you, to keep you on your toes, can’t do so when you use advertising to underwrite everything. It just feels anti-competitive. Plus, aren’t you kind of sick of shoving ads at us everywhere? Don’t I have enough ads on the floor of my supermarket already? Can’t part of Google’s mission be to help reduce advertising in places where I don’t need it?

Currently applications such as Google Docs & Spreadsheets are free for use but they are not part of Google Apps. One would suspect that those applications, and others, will be rolled into Google Apps and companies will be able to pay a fee for support contracts.

It’s also entirely believable that Google is creating an online presentation software, similar to PowerPoint. The Google Operating System blog recently found evidence of such a product.

Related Topics: Channel: Other | Google: Apps For Your Domain


About The Author: is Search Engine Land's News Editor and owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry's personal blog is named Cartoon Barry and he can be followed on Twitter here. For more background information on Barry, see his full bio over here.

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  • DanielR

    Definately good news. We’ve considered using Google for some key apps in our IT environment, but the fact it was free was the main factor against serious consideration.

    When you pay-for-what-you-get, what exactly do you get for free in terms of support, training etc?

  • David

    I’ll pay happily. I use everything google throws out and even a GSA which I don’t use if you know any buyers ;)

    My pen also doesn’t flatline and my polo shirts are really nice….

  • Justin Jeffries

    My gut feeling is that it would be wildly more successful to continue the free service (with ads).

    Give companies the option. Give them a way to pay for service on an as needed basis. Give them a way to pay to have the ads turned off.

    A paid only option will reduce adoption rates, and because most businesses would consider it a toy they would not be willing to pay for such new technology until they understand the true value of paying for service and paying for ad free screen space.

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