I have to admit that this news doesn’t surprise me at all. It’s a little disconcerting because once Google gets away from the free model on anything that is already large and still a lot of room to grow, like Google Apps, the rest of the freemium world will follow suit. Actually, if the paid version of the suite of productivity gets what is being promised as a result of generating revenue it would be a good thing.
The Wall Street Journal tells us
Sundar Pichai, Google’s senior vice president in charge of Google Apps, said Google wants to provide small businesses that use the free version of the software with dedicated customer support—something only paying customers currently get. “We’re not serving them well,” he said of the free users.
Mr. Pichai added that the millions of people who already use the free version will continue to get it free.
I’m not sure if you did the same double take that I did when a Google SVP actually said, “We’re not serving them well” but I double-took (Yes, I made that word up) so hard that I need to now visit my chiropractor.
Google and the idea of customer support have NEVER been synonymous, unless, of course you are a big spender. They treat big spenders like Vegas treats high rollers. As far as cusotmer support for the commoner though, just look at how horrific their local offering is. It’s actually an embarrassment that a brand as large and well respected as Google puts out a literal piece of crap and calls it a product that everyone should be participating in. At least, this move to support Google Apps makes sense.
Hey Google folks, how about this one. What if you charge SMB’s $50 per year for their Google+ Local listing and then you actually clean up, support and build that area as well? Now that would be news.
I know a lot of SMB’s who would be thrilled to have a product for local that makes some sense and doesn’t act like it needs to be exorcised of demons like the current iteration does now.
Oh well, back to the story at hand. How do you feel about Google Apps no longer being free?