Some small businesses now have to pay for their Google Mail

“They’re forcing us to switch to something paid after they got us addicted to this free service,” laments Richard J. Dalton Jr., who has been using Google business email for his business, Your Score Booster, since 2008 in Canada. Like this entrepreneur, the bosses of small businesses terribly regret the 180 degree turn of Google, which decided, last January, to make the use of its personalized messaging service “G Suite legacy free edition” chargeable. New York Times report Monday, June 20. Google, which launched Gmail in 2004 and then Google Docs and Google Sheets in 2006, offered these services for free for a long time. Many start-ups and family businesses had adopted its working software, especially since it was possible to add custom names to Gmail corresponding to their business name.

In December 2012, Google then stopped offering a free version of this G Suite service to new businesses. Nevertheless, GAFAM continued to support existing accounts of what became the former free edition of G Suite (renamed Google Workspace in 2020). Free is now over for these professional users. The companies concerned must pay, each month, six dollars per professional email address, or 5.7 euros. And the deadlines that will impose this new rule are about to fall.

A desire to increase revenue from existing activities

Originally scheduled for May 1, the date has been postponed to June 27. As of today, these companies will automatically switch to the paid version. And if no settlement reaches the digital titan by August 1, the accounts will simply be deleted. The Sword of Damocles is obviously not to the tastes of American entrepreneurs. Many believe that the company, which makes billions each year, is squeezing small economic players, almost for nothing, and at the worst time, after the health crisis and in full inflation, explains the New York Times. “This is unnecessarily petty”, for example regretted Patrick Gant, owner of Think It Creative, a marketing consulting firm in Canada, with our colleagues.

This change of course is part of Google’s desire to increase its revenues from its existing activities. For example, the group has integrated more advertisements into YouTube videos, or added an ad to the three existing ones in the Google search bar. As the fateful date approaches, companies are wondering if they will pay to stay on Google, or… switch to competition at Microsoft, Apple or ProtonMail.

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