Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) has announced a momentous decision that will take away the benefits of using Google App Productivity Suite free of cost from small businesses. According to Google, Businesses with 10 or fewer employees will have to pay $50 a year for using the services. This is the same rate that larger businesses pay for using the web based tools, which are comprised of e-mail, a word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation graphics tools.

Google apps

The steps being taken will help the web giant to focus on the quality of the business user’s experience, Clay Bavor- director of Product management at Google explained today in the company’s blog post. The company says that the Paid version of Google Apps will let Google focus on its Business-standard services. The paid version will include 24/7 phone support service for issues, a 25GB inbox, and its 99.9 percent uptime guarantee.

“When we launched the premium business version, we kept our free, basic version as well,” Bavor explains. “Both businesses and individuals signed up for this version, but time has shown that in practice, the experience isn’t quite right for either group. Businesses quickly outgrow the basic version and want things like 24/7 customer support and larger inboxes. Similarly, consumers often have to wait to get new features, while we make them business-ready”.

However those who have already signed up for free will continue to use the service free of cost. Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) is now encouraging users to sign up to Gmail and Google drive and its other consumer oriented products, instead of Apps. One can get the premium version of Google Apps, which is $50 per user, per year.

Looking at the investments made by Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) in its consumer focused cloud offering, which comprises the creation of Dropbox rival Google Drive, the move to cease the free usage of Google app has been expected and seems to be rational. The company is also expected to bring some major changes to Gmail, after it hired the team behind much-lauded iOS and Mac mail client, Sparrow, in August.

According to Wall Street Journal, the subscription of Google Apps and its mapping services by businesses and governments has earned the company around $1 billion over the last year. Though more than 5 million businesses are said to be using Google Apps, a majority of those businesses use the Free version.