It appears that Google might be ready to concede that not all of its products can be supported by the careful placement of AdWords ads. According to Business Week, Google plans to introduce a subscription fee for their Google Apps for Your Domain office suite.
In coming weeks, Google Apps will turn into a real business as Google begins charging corporations a subscription fee amounting to a few dollars per person per month.
With tens of thousands of businesses already using Google Apps, Google has made an impressive challenge to Microsoft’s dominance in the office suite arena, but it’s clear that businesses are not going to tolerate offers for free ring tones or mortgage refinancing alongside an email from the CFO.
Another big question is, how many businesses will find Google Apps robust enough to make the switch? Even Google’s own employees didn’t find the transition a smooth one…
Google got a taste last October when it switched over most of its own employees…to Gmail and Google Calendar. Some features on the old systems that Googlers considered crucialâ€”such as a way to schedule all those company-paid massagesâ€”weren’t available on the new system. In all, employees shot back more than 1,000 requests for new features in the first two weeks after the changeover.
And there’s the issue of availability. I’d likely switch to Google Apps tomorrow, if I were able to access my emails and documents without an internet connection. It’s hard to get any work done on a plane, if you can’t pull up your emails.
So, can Google crack the business market? It’s one thing to use Gmail for a personal account to email Aunt Jane, but quite another to use it to power the office apps for thousands of employees.
UPDATE: Google’s just added 11 new language interfaces to Google Docs and Spreadsheets
The other languages we’ve added are: French, Italian, German, Spanish, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, Korean, Turkish, Polish, Dutch, Portuguese (Brazil) and Russian. If your favorite language isn’t listed here, we’ve got an additional 18 languages in our spell-checker. Visit docs.google.com to try it out.