Google Sets It Sights On Small Business Owners

Google is going against its word and changing some of its free services to paid, and small businesses feel abandoned, reports The New York Times. After notifying users of the G Suite legacy free edition that they would have to start paying for what was originally a “lifetime” free service, the company is gearing up to start charging people June 27.

For those who do not pay up, their accounts will be terminated. For many, the move comes across as “petty” and an attempt to squeeze every possible penny out of small business owners. Google is a multibillion-dollar company. And the move is also coming at a point when the economy is struggling due to the pandemic and high gas prices.

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Google Is Going Back On Its Word

Google initiated several work apps such as Gmail, Docs, and G Suite in an attempt to compete with Microsoft, which has always dominated the virtual work app world. These apps were offered for free to small business owners for life, but the fine print said that Google had the right to change its mind about the terms at any point.

While Google is not asking for a lot of money ($50 annually the first year and then increasing thereafter), the issue for many is annoyance. Changing services takes time, which equates to money when your schedule is packed. Additionally, the free services don’t come with customer support, which leaves small business owners confused and unable to find out exactly what their options are.

One business owner, Richard Dalton, Jr., told NYT that, “They’re basically strong-arming us to switch to something paid after they got us hooked on this free service.”

Another business owner, Patrick Gant, told NYT that, “It struck me as needlessly petty. It’s hard to feel sorry for someone who received something for free for a long time and now are being told that they need to pay for it. But there was a promise that was made. That’s what compelled me to make the decision to go with Google versus other alternatives.”

G Suite changed its name to Google Workspace in 2020 after ceasing new free accounts in 2012. However, those free accounts were honored and supported up until now.

An estimated whopping 3 billion people use Google Workspace, 7 million users paying for an upgraded version. The numbers of people still using what was G Suite legacy free edition is in the thousands. So, the anticipated revenue from forcing them to pay is negligible.

To Stay Or To Go, That Is The Question

Many small businesses are considering changing to a different service.

And as a PSA, if you’re one of those small business owners who was grandfathered in, you should consider your options now before your account is terminated.

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