No, this isn’t about how we pay big-time for Google not paying tax in the UK. That’s something Eric Schmidt won’t be taking to his board very soon, I suspect.
It’s about the ‘standard’ version of Google Apps, domain based computing for organisations, which used to be free for up to 50 users (but with adverts on the web interface), then in spring 2011 they reduced that to 10 users and now they’ve done away with it altogether. If you already have a ‘free’ account, that remains. This applies to new trade.
So those clients of mine that were able to make use of the free offer are OK. Because by and large it’s a pretty good product.
Google mail is always up and running and the spam control is excellent. It is easy to set up calendars to share across the organisation. The cloud based document system called Google drive has great sharing potential where you can see multiple people editing the same document in real time – with 100% revision history.
And those are just the standard apps. The other things like video chat, photo stuff, form creators, intranet sites are going to be more or less important depending on the organisation. And then there is a substantial market of business apps that can be added to the Google Apps system.
Now voluntary sector organisations of any size are going to have to pay £33 a year (plus VAT) per user to get this service. It’s still good value. It would be better value if they paid proper corporation tax in the countries that made them their billions of profit.