Goodbye Google Apps Free Edition

For those that don’t know, Google Apps is a premium version of Gmail that allows you to use your own domain for Google services like Gmail, Calendar, Drive, Google+ etc. So instead of having john.smith@gmail.com as your email address, you could have mail@johnsmith.com but still have all the benefits of all the great services Google has to offer.

Like many other users all over the world, I use the free version of Google Apps for all of my email accounts. Way back when I started using Google Apps free edition in 2010, you got fifty 8GB mailboxes that you could create and use. You could also have unlimited “groups” (distribution lists to you and me). A year or so later Google changed this so that new accounts will only get 10 mailboxes instead of 50 but the amount of storage increased from 8GB to 10GB. Users who had the 50 mailboxes were un-affected.

Today I receive this into my inbox:

Hello from Google,

Here’s some important news about Google Apps—but don’t worry, there’s no need for you to take any action. We just want you to know that we’re making a change to the packages we offer.

Starting today, we’re no longer accepting new sign-ups for the free version of Google Apps (the version you’re currently using). Because you’re already a customer, this change has no impact on your service, and you can continue to use Google Apps for free.

Should you ever want to upgrade to Google Apps for Business, you’ll enjoy benefits such as 24/7 customer support, a 25 GB inbox, business controls, our 99.9% uptime guarantee, unlimited users and more for just $5 per user, per month.

You can learn more about this change in our Help Center or on the Enterprise Blog.

Thank you for using Google Apps.

So from now on it seems that there will be no free Google Apps accounts. I have to be honest, I’m not really shocked by this news as free premium mailboxes that Google Apps offered was a pretty great deal and when you think that competing services like Office 365 have never had a free service – this move isn’t really surprising. Especially since you can get a single mailbox with 25GB of storage for just $5 per month.

I’m really happy that Google have stuck to their word and I still get my 50 free Google Apps mailboxes, but even if they forced me to upgrade, I wouldn’t really mind as it’s such a good service.

If you missed the boat on Google Apps free edition but want to still use your own email domain with Gmail don’t worry as I’m working on an article that will give you the same functionality and still won’t cost you anything. So keep an eye out for that.

Goodbye Google Apps Free Edition
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  • Bob

    A little surprised to be honest that they have withdrawn this service. Last I checked Microsoft were still offering something similar for free in the form of Windows Live Admin Center (http://domains.live.com). With Skydrive and access to Office online for documents within Skydrive, I can see a lot of home users or small businesses looking for this functionality going here instead. Any thoughts?

    • http://www.refugeeks.com/ Kev Quirk

      Whilst this is true, you do have the functionality of a free, customised domain name with Windows Live Admin Centre, it doesn’t have anywhere near the functionality of Google Apps.

      The free edition of Google Apps was exactly the same as the enterprise level, paid for counterpart in terms of functionality. You just got less storage space and community support instead of dedicated support.

      The Live Admin Centre is not the same as Office 365 and is lacking a hell of a lot of functionality. This basically domain forwarding to Hotmail/Outlook.com, a function that Gmail already has baked right in. Still, it’s nice to have options :)

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