No More Free Google Apps

Ouch. Google Apps has ditched its free version, meaning anyone who wants to use the business version of Google's mail, calendar and office suite will now have to pay $US50 a year per user for the privilege.

Google's announcement, via a blog post, makes it clear that the change doesn't affect individual Google users, who can continue using Gmail and its sibling for free with a personal account. However, the previous option which allowed companies with less than ten employees to use apps for free (while utilising their own domain) has been retired:

For Businesses, instead of two versions, there will be one. Companies of all sizes will sign up for our premium version, Google Apps for Business, which includes 24/7 phone support for any issue, a 25GB inbox, and a 99.9% uptime guarantee with no scheduled downtime. Pricing is still $50 per user, per year.

Existing free customers won't be forced to move, but it looks like that ride is over for everyone else. It's been quite the year for Google reducing the scope of its free offerings; in September, it cut back on its free storage option.

Changes to Google Apps for businesses [Google Enterprise Blog]


    That sucks, i was thinking of signing up just so i could have a custom domain for my email just the other week.

      Why do you need apps for that? I do just that.

      Buy a domain name of your choosing, then use a free DNS service like zone edit to redirect to. This will allow you to forward emails to your Google account. Then in GMail, set your outbound email address to look like your custom domain. Google will let you use other domains as the from address, but it will say "sent from [email protected] on behalf of [email protected]". To get around this, in your outbound settings in gmail you can make it default to your ISP for all outbound emails, and Bob's your cross dressing aunty.

      Microsoft is offering custom domain Windows Live accounts with and SkyDrive at -- that could be a decent alternative.

      Check this out, there is still a simple way to get a free Google Apps account.

    This looks promising as a free alternative:

      That is so weird. Google making users pay at $50 per user per year and Microsoft of all people letting you have 500 users free. If that wasn't a foot in the door for Office365 or whatever it is I don't know what is. It's almost like Google wants to palm off those users.

      Funny things is it can't really be costing them anything - they're not 'using' extra services compared to those using just plain old addresses.

        Google Apps is a much broader ecosystem than Office365, just for the record. There are hundreds of third party apps in the Google system. The price is pretty reasonable for what you get.

    I was defecating bricks until I saw that existing customers won't be forced to pony up.

    I've been using Google Apps since 2006. Myself and my wife have our own email addresses on our own domain. We host our own blog with blogger under that domain. I have several aliases to my email address I hand out to marketing companies which are easy to filter.

    I also have added other accounts for my relatives so that they can authenticate under our domain name to grant access to our private blog (which contains photos of our daughter etc).

    I've updated themes for our sites, etc.

    I'd have to pay heaps if they forced me to pay their new rates... Moving off isn't really much of an option.

      I suspect we'd just be grandfathered into the same functionality as 'business' domain if they ever did get rid of the free service. As you say they've got users with well in excess of 5 years worth of data and functionality tied into them now, it'd be a PR nightmare to cancel their services. Mind you, Google never were the best at PR so now I've worried myself a little.

    Damn I am happy I setup my domain and account a couple weeks ago!

    Damn! I've had my domain with them for a long time and so it's got 200 free users attached to it (not like recently with a paltry 10 users). That's a domain with $10k a year's worth of users I could have resold had I picked a re-useable name... But noooo - I just used my own name and no one wants to run a business as that... My vanity has cost me dear :(

    This sucks. Gmail on your own domain was awesome.

      Still available to current users, just no new signups.

    Yeah this sucks,

    How dare Google charge me $50/user/year to use software. Even thou it's a lot cheaper than buying office, setting up an email account with an ISP etc.... to replicate the same functionality. But how dare they charge me for such a great service. I'm sure it costs Google nothing to run as servers, electricity, staff, developers etc... are all free and the world owes me something for nothing because I'm a prat.

      oh the outrage!
      happy (paid) user of google apps

      I suppose we're used to Google being free, or certainly 'cheaper' than most options but here they're now competing against Microsoft who let you run a similar email service for 500 for free but Google want $50 per user per year:

      In reality is using Google Apps 'costing' Google any more than you using their core Google Account which remains free? Service, storage etc. is the same, you maintain the DNS, not them, so there's not real overhead of your use that I can see. In fact you can even buy your domain via them when setting it up so they may even be earning commission on those domain sales.

      All I can see if they addresses out there but it's not even like they need this publicicty these days, GMail is already the goto email provider of choice.

        if you are using it for business then the support factor alone justifies the $5/month/user cost imho.

        Yes it is. Google loses their branding on your outgoing and incoming emails since it says your domain, not theirs.

    If you have a real business and can't afford $50 per user, per YEAR... you shouldn't be in business

    Or find a free alternative if there is one.

      I work with a lot of non-profits. in the past I've always recommended google apps for groups just starting up, since they get low initial expenditure and it's pretty maintenance free. As they grow, some have started paying google and some swapped to self-hosted options.

      I might have to start setting these guys up with instead. Not something I ever expected to be doing, but there you go.

        Check out

        Registered nonprofit organizations with fewer than 3,000 users qualify for Google Apps for Education. Apply to the Google for Nonprofits program for access to Google Apps for Education

        It quotes US legislation for the qualifying criteria, so you might have to get in touch with the local sales guys to see what the criteria in Australia would be.

          Yeah, I checked with the google apps team about that one. Unfortunately they don't have an australian version of that program, so any non-profits have to take the normal route: $5/month/user.

          I'm still hopeful they'll launch it one day, but I've been hoping that for a few years now.

    So, to clarify, personal users can still use the free edition, right?

    Because that's how I read it, yet there's a lot of bitching about how this will affect personal domain email, when in fact it won't??

      If you have an existing free account, nothing will change. However, nobody will be able to sign up for a new google apps account for free.

      Where the linked article refers to 'individuals' and 'personal use', they mean you should sign up for a normal google account ([email protected]). If you want domain email, you'll have to either pay google or set up a separate service.

    You can actually still create a personal Google Apps account via what kinda seems like a backdoor. I just did it then.

    Check out the guide at

    Apparently, this is a work around to signup for the free addition of Google Apps

    still get free Google apps visit..


    I had domains with free Google apps accounts ranging from 10 emails 2000 emails. Contact with your offer.

    Not quite free, but you can buy largere user count domains that have grandfathered in accounts - up to 2000 users - no yearly/monthly charges..
    they are sold from

    Cheaper grandfathered Google Apps accounts also available here if you are interested:

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