Nothing is Free. Nothing. Is. Free. NOTHING IS EVER FREE.
You knew that, right?
I’ve been sharing my ideas about business change with you for years, and one of the themes that’s recurred over and over is that Google—even if somewhere deep in their bowels they still believe in their old corporate ‘Don’t Be Evil‘ credo—has become and will continue to become more and more evil.
Of course, business is business; ‘evil’ no more belongs in a business lexicon than ‘justice’ belongs in a discussion about law.
Businesses have to make money. Google, built on getting us to do as many things as possible with them by giving away a tremendous number of useful tools, is now officially beginning their move away from that strategy. Google Apps is no longer free.
Actually, for the moment, you can still get Google Apps for free, but there are hoops to be jumped through, and you should expect this loophole to close. But I digress.
More and more, our lives and our businesses are moving “into the cloud“. The things about that that you absolutely must pay attention to include understanding backup strategies and how cloud services differ from storing your data locally, and what happens when your cloud isn’t working (coincidentally, Google was ‘out’, yesterday). But those are just logistics, and if you either pay a lot of attention to detail or hire someone who takes care of those things for you, the business processes are controlled.
On the other hand, when you think you’re getting something for free, and after you start using it the company you get it from jumps out and scream “April Fools!”, you’re simply at their mercy.
Now to be fair, there’s good news in the “Google Apps Are No Longer Free” story. Just as Hubspot (partially Google owned, by the way) has thus far never raised prices for existing customers, Google hasn’t started charging for previously-free Google Apps accounts—yet. It’s only new Google Apps accounts that have no free option available. But the story doesn’t exactly end there.
Since Google bought them, Zagat has become free.
Google Music Google Play Music is free. Scads of free storage comes with a Google Chromebook. But that Chromebook storage is only free for a limited time, Google Music—a huge bandwidth hog—is only free if you don’t have bandwidth limits to worry about, and believe me when I tell you that Google is gathering a tremendous amount of information on you when you use Zagat.
Not Free. Not Nearly.
If Google keeps their prices low-ish when the time comes for free to go away entirely, then I’ll stand by my position that getting in bed with Google often and intimately is still a pretty smart play. But make no mistake; Google will cook your rabbit if you don’t do things their way.