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November 17, 2008

Free Google Apps, More Difficult to Find

Google Apps for Your Domain has been launched in 2006 as a solutions for organizations that wanted to use Google's applications on their own domains. In 2007, Google launched a premier edition for businesses that added corporate features, APIs, phone support and service-level agreement for Gmail.

But how many businesses use Google Apps? A post from July mentioned that "500,000 organizations adopt Apps as part of their business, with another 3,000 signing up every day", while another blog post from October informed us that "more than 1 million businesses have selected Google Apps to run their business".

It's not clear how many of these organizations use the paid edition of Google Apps, but Google decided to make it difficult to even find the free version.

Here's Google Apps homepage, where you can only click on a big blue button:



The second page says that "Google recommends Premier Edition for businesses in the cloud" and invites to me start a free trial. There's a small link below the "Begin free trial" button that lets you use the standard version, but it's difficult to notice.



If you click on that link, you'll get the page that compares the standard and the premier versions, which used to be displayed by default.


Google Apps is now in the same league as RealPlayer, which shows a small link to the free version, while using the rest of the page to promote a paid version. Just in case the link to the Google Apps Standard Edition goes away, here's how to sign up for free.

Update (December 2012): the free Google Apps is no longer available for new users.

45 comments:

  1. well this move is not so nice at all. it doesn't look like google style.

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  2. The 'how to sign up for free' link is the one for Google Apps for Teams. This is not a recommended sign up as it influences the accounts of all user in that domain; they may unknowingly end up with two Google Accounts, one at www.google.com/accounts and one at www.google.com/a/MYDOMAIN.EXT (where MYDOMAIN.EXT is the domain you are creating the Google Apps for Teams for. This can be extremely confusing especially for Google Docs users that may suddendly find documents shared to the other of the two accounts.

    Once a Google Apps for Teams has been created it is very difficult (or even impossible) to delete it, with as a result the (oblivious)other users will have to suffer from the confusion of the two accounts with the same login/password indefinitely.

    Please don't think light-heartedly about creating a free Google Apps account, it can be a pain not to find out its ins and outs and the influence this has on existing users in the same domain.

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  3. I want .cn support :) have any info when it's coming?

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  4. Jalu: unless sites.google.com is a banned url in China, you should be able to work with a .cn domain. Or am I missing something here?

    On another note, I think it is only fair that you have to digg around a bit to get to the standard (free) version of Apps (of any flavor). After all, it is FREE.

    Ahab: While I agree that there are certain dangers to users, google sites is still very good news for all those who need a free web site / wiki. So let's scare everyone away....

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  5. Its really nice that you have noticed it...!! Lots of friends asked me about this. and i search to get standard one. This is definitely not google style.

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  6. If you look carefully at the bottom of that homepage, there is a text: "See our solutions for schools, non-profits and ISPs."

    Just click the non-profits link, then you get to a description page for the free services, with a big blue button that takes you to the comparison page...

    Not a whole lot friendlier, but at least you can get it from the front page.

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  7. Downloading the free RealPlayer is pretty straightforward these days. One click from http://real.com and it's downloading.

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  8. I agree, this doesn't look like the kind of move google would do.

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  9. They aren't taking anything away, they have just begun marketing their more advanced paid services. If we want Google to stick around and be profitable enough to keep developing new tools, they need to make money too.
    I don';t have a problem with the change, it's just common sense for a business to try to make money first.
    Do you complain about the ads showing up first on the search pages?
    Does it stop you from searching?
    Users are still getting free search and a lot more from Google.

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  10. It could be worse. AOL, Yahoo and even Microsoft are outright eliminating their bottom rung of online tools. I'm sure there are bean counters at Google already asking "do we really need all this stuff?"

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  11. Google apps is a load of rubbish anyway - its like a normal google account 7 years ago. even the 'start page' is a really stripped down version of iGoogle.

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  12. Don't forget the free Google Apps for Education (I use it since since 2006 and find it very useful :o)

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  13. Useful article.Thanks a lot.Cheers.

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  14. indeed. i noticed this the other day while signing a client up for apps free edition. i googled for the signup page :-)

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  15. Here's the link for free edition

    http://www.google.com/a/cpanel/domain/new

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  16. I think that a search company has to be concerned when its 'product' becomes dominated by revenue stream. It discredited Microsoft, to some extent Yahoo, and itself when paid ads were all one could find : in fact, I've had to go through chains of false leads on different topics at different times ( on various sites ). That's when people go for alternatives. I'm in social networks and bookmarking because I remember when Search...was almost useless.

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  17. Thanks a bunch for this. I have decided to take the plunge today and switch to google hosted email. And I haven't been able to find the free one for some time now. While I understand that google needs to market its paid products, the worst part is that while I'd most certainly not pay $50 for a single inbox per year due to the price and the fact that I have no use for the services offered, I for one would be willing to pay $15 or so per year for the free services they're offering right now (which is certainly more than, well, nothing)

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  18. I spent 15 mins looking for it. Thanks!

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  19. We can't blame Google, most of their services are top notch and free. However, paying them a little shouldn't hurt, if one can. Google Apps is hands down best tool in this category.

    And, it just needs an 'aware' internet user to find all the links. ;)

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  20. Thanks for posting the link. I had no idea they pulled it. That is very un-Google-like, I'm afraid.

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  21. Yuss! Thank you!

    Had a minor panic attack there, thought they had dropped the free version!

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  22. I called GOOGLE this morning and made them give me the STANDARD APPS link.

    http://www.google.com/apps/intl/en/group/index.html

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  23. Things have chnaged a little since this was first posted.
    Click on the premium sign up and you will get the url
    http://www.google.com/a/cpanel/premier/new

    Change it to
    http://www.google.com/a/cpanel/standard/new
    or
    http://www.google.com/a/cpanel/domain/new
    for the free one

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  24. Standard edition is now on the front page again - although it's a small link under the big blue button

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  25. From where do i get free google apps?? Any URL plz..

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  26. How do i configure g-apps mail service in my local outlook mail. Any article to do that?? Please text the url if you know Alex or soembody !!

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  27. Thanks for this. I had one domain set up on Google Apps and couldn't locate the free sign up for my new domain. I've been struggling with the limited host provided email for some time now. Greatly appreciated!!!

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  28. How do I log into my Google Apps Standard Edition account after I have signed up? I can't find the login page! Thanks.

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  29. it has become even more difficult by now and i couldn't find the almost invisible link to the "compare to standard version" any more - anyways, it's moved further down on the page: here is the link
    http://www.google.com/apps/intl/en/group/index.html

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  30. I think the link to the standard edition is quite visible right now. If you go to google.com/a, there's a sidebar with links to other versions:

    "Other Google Apps editions:
    Standard
    Education
    Non-profits
    Government"

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  31. then can we use standard version at free of cost? $50/account us really costly if you have several domains

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  32. I want to set up an account for my university volleyball team to view videos of the skills and feedback on skill development. How can I get an option to share videos without paying for it AND without having to get the university's domain/web administrator info... which I can't get. Any ideas?

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  33. At this point it seems that the free apps that are being offered have bugs and interface problems. Probably due to inexperienced developers bringing new programs to market. So far I haven't stuck with any of the free or free trial apps. The Aviary Design Suite (Free) was nearly impossible to learn and I just didn't think it deserved the amount of time it took to figure out the odd interface graphics.

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  34. Ultimately, it boils down to making money by any means. I do not blame Google but only the naivete of ordinary folks worldwide. Google did not get into android os for charity; the same os across tablets, smartphones and PCs and paid apps will ensure more revenue than paid os and free apps.

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  35. As of today the entry point to the free Apps version seems to be here:
    http://www.google.com/enterprise/apps/business/pricing.html

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  36. I am looking for it but can't find it :(

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  37. Try Here:

    https://www.google.com/a/cpanel/standard/new3?hl=en&source=gafb-pricing-tabletop-en

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  38. TRY THIS: go to google apps. click "pricing" and there's a FREE standard option to select on this page :)

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  39. Google has just removed the free edition of Google Apps!
    http://googleenterprise.blogspot.sg/

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    ReplyDelete
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