Google Apps For Business To Go Paid From May 10 In India

Google Apps for Business, the browser-based office suite that revolutionised the way start-ups and SMBs use e-mail and productivity applications at work, will soon go paid for any business with more than 10 users in India.

Google Apps offers online solutions for e-mail, document editing, spread sheets and calendar management and collaboration with Gmail, Google Calendar, Docs and Sites. These web-based tools are hosted by Google itself and help streamline setup, minimise maintenance and reduce IT costs. Google claims that over three million businesses run Google Apps today.

Earlier, Google Apps for Business offered business users 100 e-mail IDs for free. Now, business users signing up for Google Apps for the first time after May 10, 2011 will be asked to use the paid Google Apps product if they have more than 10 e-mail accounts.

The website has not yet announced the change, but an e-mail message sent by the Google Apps Team reads: "We recently announced upcoming changes to the maximum number of users for Google Apps. As of May 10, any organisation that signs up for a new account will be required to use the paid Google Apps for Business product in order to create more than 10 users."

Existing businesses will be able to continue to use Google Apps without being charged. Think of it as a bonus for adopting the cloud service first.

Globally, Google Apps for Business announced that it was going paid in 2009. It charged an annual fee of $50 per user, according to this pricing chart.

How does Google Apps differ from Google Apps for Business? While the former is a free service that allows anyone to activate up to 50 accounts and offers messaging apps, customised e-mail accounts for domains, Google Calendar and mobile access to the services, Google Apps for Business offers an additional set of security and support services.

Features such as Google Video for Business and Google Groups for Business are offered on Google Apps for Business. It also provides 25 GB e-mail storage per user, as well as enhanced support and security features. For example, with more administrator controls, you can enforce SSL, which means when you connect to your e-mail and data which are hosted online, the connection is always secure and hackers or IP thieves will not be able to access and steal company information. Various banks currently use SSL to secure online banking transactions.

By setting the required custom password strength, you will be able to ensure that employees' e-mail inboxes are protected against information theft.

Google also offers 99.9 per cent uptime guarantee and 24/7 support, besides interoperability for Blackberry and Microsoft Outlook users.

A direct competitor to Google Apps for Business is Microsoft's Office 365 and the tech giant had recently launched a public beta in India. Office 365 is Microsoft's online productivity suite, which combines Office Web Apps, Exchange Online, SharePoint Online and Lync Online into a cloud service.

Office 365 is a paid service for an average of Rs 270 per user, per month, starting at Rs 90 per user, per month for instant messaging and presence applications. And more than 150,000 organisations have signed up to test it so far, the company has revealed.

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