The end of free, also for Google?

Image representing Gmail as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase

Just like with the downturn around year 2001, many formerly free web apps start charging for their services, and sometimes quite significant amounts. For instance, the first payed tier of Getsatisfaction costs now $49 per month, still significant for a start-up. Not to criticize GSFN, we love the service as we use it for Twones, but this is clearly becoming a trend.

In times of economic downturn it is either getting paid or getting bust.

More surprising is a silent change in the options for Google Apps when you sign up for a new account (new domain).

A year ago, the free product allowed you to add 100 users (or emails), now 50.

And the webmail product was almost like the free gmail product. Specifically, you should specify that connections always use SSL (secure https rather than standard http). This is now gone, you have to pay $50,- per user per year now to use secure connections.

This surprises me, considered that there are urgent reports warning that you should use the https option for gmail, which attracts more and more black hat hackers due to its high popularity.

Oh, and $50 is a bit much of a price tag for members of my family who just want to check their email every so often…

Update: a bit of googling learns that I’m not the only one who noticed…

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