Creating a personal Google Account will be a mandatory for users in order to use Google web apps, while business users will have to pay an annual subscription fee, Google announced on Thursday.
In a blog post, Clay Bavor, director of product management for Google Apps, explained that the move is being made in order to focus the quality of the user experience on the needs of paying, business users, with fuller support. However, those that have already signed up for the service for free will still be able to use it as before.
According to the new plan, individuals wishing to use Google's web apps like Gmail and Google Drive should create a free personal Google Account, which provides a seamless experience across all of our web services on any device.
For businesses, instead of two versions, there will be one. Companies of all sizes will sign up for Google's 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.
Google added that its Google Apps for Education will be available as a free service for schools and universities. Also, the company will continue to offer Google Apps for Government for $50 per user, per year.
Subscriptions to Google Apps and its mapping service for businesses and governments contribute to a significant profit for Google.