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Google to Charge $50 Per User, Per Year for Business Apps

Google has decided to start charging $50 per user, per year for companies that use Google Apps for businesses.

Existing customers will not be charged this new fee and individuals can still open a free personal account. If you want to open a free trial of the business account, follow this link. What do you think about Google’s new pricing structure? Here’s more from Google:

For Businesses, instead of two versions, there will be one. Companies of all sizes will sign up for our premium version, Google Apps for Business, which includes 24/7 phone support for any issue, a 25GB inbox, and a 99.9% uptime guarantee with no scheduled downtime. Pricing is still $50 per user, per year. Please note this change has no impact on our existing customers, including those using the free version. And as before, Google Apps for Education will be available as a free service for schools and universities. Also, as the first cloud productivity suite with FISMA certification, we’ll continue to offer Google Apps for Government for $50 per user, per year.

Google Apps To End Internet Explorer 8 Support

Google Apps won’t work on Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) web browser after November 15th, Google said in a blog post last week.

Here is more from the Google blog: “Internet Explorer 10 launches on 10/26/2012, and as a result, we will discontinue support for Internet Explorer 8 shortly afterwards, on 11/15/2012. After this date users accessing Google Apps services using Internet Explorer 8 will see a message recommending that they upgrade their browser.”

Engadget has more: “While the cutoff doesn’t amount to a full-fledged block, Google Apps users still stuck in 2009 will be reminded that they’re on their own until they upgrade. Is it the end of the world for web apps on older PCs? No, but it’s clear that their days are numbered.”

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Germans Reopen Investigation on Facebook Privacy (The New York Times)
Data protection officials in Germany reopened an investigation into Facebook’s facial recognition technology Wednesday, saying that the social networking giant was illegally compiling a huge database of members’ photos without their consent. The data protection commissioner in Hamburg, Johannes Caspar, suspended the inquiry in June, but said he reopened it after attempts to persuade Facebook to change its policies had failed. ZDNET The agency’s main concern is that Facebook does not notify its users that the facial recognition technology is being used and claims that a biometrics database containing millions of faces carries has “immense potential” for being misused. Caspar wants Facebook to delete all the data already gathered, or at least ensure that the users actively consent to their data being used in this way. PC Magazine The German probe kicked off in mid-2011, but as The New York Times noted, that investigation was closed in June after Caspar’s office believed Facebook was complying with German demands. Now it appears that was not the case. AllFacebook When the Internet’s wide collection of pranksters decides to get together, it can be a nightmare for Facebook page administrators. Whoever runs Subway’s Facebook page is certainly earning their paycheck this week, as the page was bombarded Wednesday with animated pornographic images featuring the company’s logo and sandwiches. CNET Drawing upon a little-known California law, Facebook is reportedly looking to hasten the payout of its Instagram purchase. Typically with deals like this companies have to first register with the Securities and Exchange Commission, but if the social network is able to use the California law it could save the company time and money. Read more

Google Aggregates Their Entertainment Offerings Into ‘Google Play’

google play

Jamie Rosenberg, Google’s Director of Digital Content, recently posted on Google’s official blog about the new Google Play integrated service.  It allows you to store your books, movies, apps and games on the cloud, and then lets you access them from whatever Google device you desire.  This is a smart move that not only helps remove the frustration of copying files from one place to another, but also helps Google future-proof against privacy — once users are using Cloud systems more often it will be easier for Google to ensure that you’re using paid-for apps and movies.

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Freemium Summit East: Leveraging Other Platforms to Build a Freemium Business

Manymoon co-founder and CEO Amit Kulkarni used his presentation at Freemium Summit East in New York Monday, “Leveraging Other Platforms to Build a Freemium Business,” to discuss how his company was able to leverage relationships with Google Apps and LinkedIn.

Kulkarni described Manymoon as a “social-productivity tool — I know that sounds like an oxymoron to a lot of people,” adding that it brings a social element to tasks, projects, and work flows, and helps users organize information. He added that some 30,000 businesses have signed up for Manymoon.

On leveraging other platforms in general, Kulkarni said, “Platform users are starving for added-value applications. Platform users are already accustomed to the self-service model. They find us. It cuts out a lot of resources. They are also used to providing support on their own.”

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Freemium Summit East: Lessons from Leaders at Scale

Google Apps partner lead Scott McMullan used a panel titled “Lessons from Leaders at Scale” at Freemium Summit East in New York Monday morning to discuss how Google Apps has gone from zero users in 2007 to more than 30 million currently.

He described Google Apps as a “messaging and collaboration suite, sold to organizations and businesses,” along with Google Postini Services, pay products related to the suite.

Google Apps for Business is available in a Standard Edition, which accommodates up to 50 users and including messaging apps (Gmail, Google Calendar) and collaboration apps (Google Docs, Google Sites), as well as a Premier Edition, which has no user limit and adds features including Google Video, Google Groups, and 25 gigabytes of email storage per user.

In terms of the growth experienced by Google Apps, McMullan said it is signing up more than 3,000 new businesses daily, with a total of more than 3 million, adding that 10 million of its 30 million users are free, EDU (student) users. Google Apps has five editions (EDU, Standard, Premium, government, partner) supported by five sales teams (business development, online sales, telesales, field sales for enterprises, and field sales for federal, state, and local governments and Internet-service providers). Field sales target organizations with more than 3,000 users; telesales those with 100-3,000; and online focuses on those with 1-100.

The challenge McMullan mentioned was that the online sales team is competing with the free apps, but the bright spot: Google Apps’ diverse customer base brings more opportunity for add-ons, and its self-service DNA makes pilots easier and cheaper.

He concluded by mentioning two companies as case studies from its marketplace: Smartsheet, which has seen its conversion rate soar to three times that of pay-per-click advertising, and which has found cloud-savvy users easier to sell to and support; and SlideRocket, which has seen conversion rates of 2.5 times that of pay-per-click ads and a fivefold increase in seats per company, meaning the average company size of its buyers is larger.