Google Apps for Work

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Google Apps for Work
Google Apps logo
Developer(s) Google Inc.
Platform Gmail, Calendar, Hangouts, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Google Sites and Vault.
Type Web productivity tools
License Proprietary

Google Apps for Work is a service from Google that provides independently customizable versions of several Google products using a domain name provided by the customer. It features several Web applications with similar functionality to traditional office suites, including Gmail, Hangouts, Google Calendar, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Groups, News, Play, Sites, and Vault. It was the vision of Rajen Sheth, a Google employee who later developed Chromebooks.[1]

Google Apps for Work is free for 30 days, US$5 per user account per month thereafter, or $50 per user, per year. Google Apps for Education and Google Apps for Non-profits (for accredited 501(c)(3) non-profit entities) are free and offer the same amount of storage as Google Apps for Work accounts.[2]

In addition to shared apps (calendar, docs, etc.), Google provides Google Apps Marketplace, an app store for Google Apps users. It contains various apps, both free and paid, which can be installed to customize the Google Apps for Work experience for the user.[3]


Google Apps is available in several editions. Each edition has a limit for the number of individual user accounts that may be created. Google Apps launched with a default user allotment of 200 users in the standard (free) edition, which was shortly changed to 100 users. In addition, users could request to have their user limit increased through a manual process taking (at least) 1–2 weeks for approval. In January 2009, the cap was changed so that all new accounts would receive only 50 users as opposed to 100, and could not request more without payment.[4] This was confirmed as relating to the launch of the Google Apps commercial reseller program. Existing Standard Edition users before January 2009 kept their old allocation, in addition to the ability to "request" more users, though these limit requests are now commonly answered with suggestions to "upgrade your subscription".[5] In 2011, the limit on the free Google Apps product was further reduced to 10 users, effective for new users. On December 6, 2012, Google decided to discontinue Google Apps Free Edition (Standard Edition). New business customers will be redirected to register for Google Apps Work Edition while existing Google Apps Standard Edition accounts will continue to be operational.[6]

The subscription level of a Google Apps edition is billed based on the total number of available users in the Apps account, and the edition features apply to all user accounts in that subscription. It is not possible to purchase upgrades for a subset of users: to increase the user limit, subscriptions must be purchased for all accounts. For example, an upgrade from a "Standard" limit of 50 users to allow up to 60 users would involve paying for 60 users, whether they are used or not. [7]

Google Apps Partner Edition / Google Apps for ISPs
[8] Same as standard edition with the following exceptions:
  • No limit on number of mailboxes
  • Google API is available to use to manage and provision accounts
Google Apps for Work (formerly Google Apps for Business)
  • US$50[9] (40 EUR,[10] 33 GBP[11]) per account per year, or US$5 per account monthly
  • Text ads optional
  • Integrated Postini policy-based messaging security
  • Conference room/resource scheduling
  • 99.9% e-mail uptime guarantee
  • APIs available for Single Sign On
  • 24/7 phone support
  • Limited to sending email to 2000 external recipients per day per email account[12]
  • Storage space 30 GB per account, allocated for use across all products including e-mail
Google Apps for Education (formerly Google Apps Education Edition)
Same as Google Apps for Work except for the following:
  • Free for K-12 schools, colleges, and universities with up to 30,000 users
  • No ads for faculty, staff, or students
  • Google may serve ads to accounts not associated with enrolled students, staff or volunteers [13]
  • Storage space 30 GB per account, allocated for use across all products including e-mail
  • Content management system (branded Google Classroom) for document sorting and communication. Expected to launch September 2014.
Google Apps for Non-profits (formerly Google Apps Education Edition)
Same as Google Apps for Work except for the following:
  • Free for accredited 501(c)(3) non-profit entities
  • No ads for faculty, staff, or students
  • Google may serve ads to accounts not associated with staff or volunteers [13]
  • Storage space 30 GB per account, allocated for use across all products including e-mail
Services by type of account
Requires Google Account Gmail address Google Apps for Work
Standard[citation needed] Higher[14]
Gmail Yes Yes Yes (Requires domain name)
Google Apps Sync Yes Yes (using Microsoft Exchange) No Yes
Google Calendar Yes Yes Yes
Google Contacts Yes Yes Yes (Listed as in beta)
Google Contacts Sync Yes Yes (using Microsoft Exchange) Yes
Google Drive Yes Yes Yes
Google Groups Yes Yes Yes[15]
Google Sites Yes Yes Yes
Google Tasks No Yes Yes
Google Voice No Yes Yes
Google Analytics No Yes Yes
Google+ Yes Yes Yes as of 10/27/11


According to an announcement at the Google I/O conference in June 2012, Gmail had 425 million users and 5 million businesses used Google Apps for Business.[16][17] Google announced at the Google I/O in June 2014 that Google Drive had 190 million monthly active users, and that 8% of the Fortune 500 companies as well as 72 of the top universities are using Google Drive.[18]

Google is making a concerted effort to increase usage, particularly in the public sector. The most recent example was the announcement in June, 2011 by US government agency, NOAA, that their 25,000 government employees would be migrated to Google Apps for Work by year's end.[19] In 2009, Los Angeles, California awarded Google a five-year contract to provide Google Apps services to 34,000 employees.[20] As of early 2011, the City of Los Angeles was still in the process of deploying Google Apps after objections from LAPD officials surfaced about privacy.[21] In early 2010, the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory shifted 5,000 email accounts to Google Apps.[20] On July 22, 2010, the General Services Administration certified that Google Apps met its cybersecurity requirements.[20] On October 29, 2010, Google filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Interior, which opened up a bid for software that required that bidders use Microsoft's Business Productivity Online Suite. Google sued, calling the requirement "unduly restrictive of competition".[22]

ROI analysis[edit]

Few independent studies exist documenting the true cost savings of enterprises adopting SaaS solutions such as Google Apps. One recent non-independent study from Forrester Research indicates that large enterprises can achieve up to 329% ROI and a breakeven point of 1.4 months.[23] A model company of 18,000 employees was used for the Forrester study.


Google provides a reseller program for Google Apps. As of July, 2012 more than 6000 businesses had signed up to resell the solution.[24]


  • February 2006 - Google created Gmail For Your Domain with an invitation-only beta, which allowed Gmail to be used with a custom domain name. It featured 2 GB of e-mail storage, and many of the standard Gmail features.[citation needed]
  • August 2006 - Google expanded on this service and developed Google Apps For Your Domain, incorporating more recent Google services, including Google Calendar, Google Talk, and Google Page Creator. Later, Google added a "Start Page" to all accounts, which is based on their iGoogle service.
  • October 2006 - Google allowed educational institutions to sign up for the service, which was retitled Google Apps For Education.
  • February 22, 2007 - Google launched a Premier Edition for enterprise, as well as making registration public for all Google Apps services. At the same time, all products were unified, and the online control panel was redesigned.
  • June 2007 - Email migration from IMAP email services was added to Google Apps for Work.[25]
  • October 3, 2007 - Google announced that "security, compliance, policy management, and message recovery services" from recently acquired Postini will be integrated into Google Apps Premier Edition.[26][27]
  • October 12, 2007 - Google announced that e-mail storage for domains using Google Apps would be increasing. Premier Edition accounts now have 25 GB of space each (previously 10 GB). Standard and Education Edition accounts will mirror the Gmail counter (previously 2 GB, over 7 GB as of August 2008).[2]
  • February 28, 2008 - Google announced that Google Sites will be available to domains hosted by Google Apps. Google Sites allows collaborative editing of web sites and permits users to upload images and videos to their site.[28]
  • September 2008 - Google Page Creator and file uploader was removed as an available service for new Google Apps applicants.
  • December 1, 2008 - Google removed the Start Page option for new Google Apps accounts. They are apparently trying to transition new users to using sites instead.
  • January 14, 2009 - Google removed the ability to add additional users to Standard Edition domains and limited new standard edition domains to 50 users (a reduction from the previous 100).
  • January 29, 2009 - Google added Google Apps to the Google Labs suite. This allows users to add gadgets to their inbox such as 'Offline', 'Tasks', and 'Vacation Time!'.[29]
  • April 1, 2009 - Google added theme support to the mail interface.[30][31]
  • June 9, 2009 - Google introduced Google Apps Sync for Microsoft Outlook, enabling companies running Microsoft Exchange Server to migrate their email boxes from Exchange to Google Apps.[32][33]
  • July 7, 2009 - Google upgraded all of the services under Google Apps from 'Beta' status.[34]
  • September 15, 2009 - Google announced that it will provide GovCloud, which will host Google Apps in a separate data environment with enhanced encryption for meeting state and government security standards.[35]
  • March 9, 2010 - Google opened the Google Apps Marketplace, a venue for third-party, cloud-based applications to supplement Google's own online applications.[36]
  • May 24, 2010 - Google announced that Google Wave will be available to domains hosted by Google Apps in next generation (only US English). Google Wave was a live, shared space on the web where people could discuss and work together using richly formatted text, photos, videos, maps, and more.[37]
  • August 3, 2010 - Google Senior Vice President Urs Hölzle announced that Google will cease development of Google Wave.[38]
  • Mid–end of 2010[citation needed] - Google started rejecting registration of dot tk domains for Google Apps (Google Apps Standard Edition at that time), but it did not affect Google Apps for Work (Google Apps Premiere Edition at the time) and Google Apps for Education (Google Apps Education Edition at the time). All Google Apps accounts using dot tk domains registered before March 2010 became disabled. When affected users try to use Google Apps, they get the following message: "This account has been disabled."[citation needed]
  • Second half of 2010 - Google Apps accounts are transitioned to the same backend as other Google accounts, a technical change that allows both accounts to receive new features at the same time.
  • May 10, 2011 - The number of free accounts for Google Apps (formerly Google Apps Standard Edition) drops from 50 to 10.[39]
  • August 3, 2012 - The Google Video for Business and Google Apps for Teams services are discontinued.[40] Apps for Teams allowed persons with a valid business or school email address to use Google collaboration services without using Gmail or a full Apps for Business or Education distribution.
  • December 7, 2012 - Google discontinues the free version of Google Apps.[41] A free one-user version is still available to Google App Engine developers through a special sign-up process.[42]
  • June, 2013 - Google discontinues the one-user Google Apps version.


Analyst firm the Real Story Group cited several weaknesses in Google Apps in a comparative review which referenced a lack of administration, customization, and lifecycle services that might hamper effectiveness in large enterprise environments.[43]

Data security issues mean that online application platforms can be unsuitable where sensitive or confidential data is to be stored. This is particularly true for governments (where national interests might preclude storing information abroad) and large commercial entities (where any data leak can have severe financial consequences), and individuals (where ID theft can have devastating financial consequences or destroy a reputation).

  1. On March 10, 2009, Google reported that a bug in Google Docs had allowed unintended access to some private documents. It was believed that 0.05% of documents stored via the service were affected by the bug, which Google claimed has been fixed.[44]
  2. In the UK, it is not possible to obtain information relating to Google and RIPA requests[45] but we know that MI5 and MI6 make frequent use of their information because of quotes like, "but I can say that the intelligence agencies, police forces and other law enforcement agencies are the principal users of communications data"[46] in the annual RIPA reports.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Metz, Cade (October 7, 2011). "Article in Wired". Wired. Retrieved 7 October 2011. 
  2. ^ a b Google (2012-01-01). "What's included in my edition of Gmail?". Google. Retrieved 2012-01-01. 
  3. ^ "Google Apps Marketplace". 
  4. ^ "Google Help Center: Standard Edition user accounts". Google. 
  5. ^ "Google Apps Blog - 50 user limit for new Standard Edition customers". Google. 
  6. ^ "Google Help Center: Google Apps Free Edition". Google. 
  7. ^ "Google Help Center: Purchase and Renewals". Google. 
  8. ^ "Google Apps Partner Edition". Google. Retrieved 2011-09-01. 
  9. ^ "Business online messaging and collaboration applications – Google Apps". Google. 
  10. ^ "Applications de messagerie et de collaboration en ligne professionnelles : Google Apps". Google. 
  11. ^ "Business online messaging and collaboration applications – Google Apps". Google. 
  12. ^ "Google Apps - Mail Sending Limits". Google. Retrieved 2009-12-14. 
  13. ^ a b "Google Apps Education Edition agreement". Google. Retrieved 2008-05-29. 
  14. ^ "Higher" means Premier, Education, Business and Government
  15. ^ At least for Standards, Google Groups do not use the custom domain name
  16. ^ "Gmail Now Has 425 Million Users, Google Apps for Business Used By 5 Million Businesses And 66 Of The Top 100 Universities". TechCrunch. June 28, 2012. 
  17. ^ Google Blog stating that 4 million businesses and 40 million people use Apps
  18. ^ Sambit Satpathy (25 June 2014). "Google Drive has over 190 million 30-day active users". BGR. 
  19. ^ J. Nicholas Hoover (2011-06-09). "From Ocean to Cloud: NOAA Goes Google Apps - Government - Cloud/SaaS". Retrieved 2013-06-14. 
  20. ^ a b c Efrati, Amir (July 26, 2010). "Microsoft Google View To Sell U.S. Cloud Mail". Wall Street Journal. p. B1. 
  21. ^ "Google, Los Angeles hit speed bumps on move to cloud". ZDNet. 2010-07-23. Retrieved 2013-06-14. 
  22. ^ "Google, Inc. vs. the United States". 
  23. ^ Forrester: Measuring The Total Economic Impact Of Google Apps
  24. ^ "Google Apps now includes more than 6,000 reseller experts". ZDNet. July 18, 2012. 
  25. ^ David Berlind (2007-06-25). "Google improves ‘Apps’, offers organizations clear path off Exchange, Notes, etc. to GMail". ZDNet. Retrieved 2008-05-29. 
  26. ^ "Google Adds Postini's Security and Compliance Capabilities to Google Apps". Google Press Center. 2007-10-03. Retrieved 2008-05-29. 
  27. ^ "Google Apps - Additional security and compliance options". Google. Retrieved 2008-05-29. 
  28. ^ "Google Sites". Google. Retrieved 2008-05-29. 
  29. ^ "Gmail Gets Offline Support, Finally". shilpz. Retrieved 2009-01-29. 
  30. ^ Hathaway, Jay (2009-04-01). "Gmail themes finally come to Google Apps". Retrieved 2013-06-14. 
  31. ^ "Google Apps Adds Support for Themes". Retrieved 2013-06-14. 
  32. ^ "Google Apps Sync for Microsoft Outlook Treads on Microsoft Exchange — Tech News and Analysis". 2009-06-09. Retrieved 2013-06-14. 
  33. ^ "Google Apps Sync for Microsoft Outlook Announced – ReadWrite". Retrieved 2013-06-14. 
  34. ^ "Google Apps is out of beta (yes, really)". 
  35. ^ "Google to Launch Government Cloud". 
  36. ^ "Google Opens Google Apps Marketplace". Retrieved 10 March 2010. 
  37. ^ "Google Wave Available for Everyone". The Google Wave Blog. Google. 18 May 2010. Retrieved 3 June 2010. 
  38. ^ "Update on Google Wave". The Google Wave Blog. Google. 4 August 2010. 
  39. ^ "Helping small businesses start and manage Google Apps for Work". Google. 26 April 2011. 
  40. ^ Ibel, Max (2012-08-03). "Official Blog: Giving you a better Google". Retrieved 2013-06-14. 
  41. ^ "Google kills off free Google Apps offering". ZDNet. 7 December 2012. 
  42. ^ "Use Google App Engine to Get Google Apps for Your Domain for Free". 2012-12-11. Retrieved 2013-02-23. 
  43. ^ "Enterprise Collaboration & Social Software Vendor Evaluations". Retrieved 2011-04-18. 
  44. ^ Google software bug shared private online documents, AFP, March 10, 2009
  45. ^ Example FOI request wrt Google and RIPA, PSNI, Date Unknown
  46. ^ House of Commons (July 22, 2008). "Report of the Interception of Communications Commissioner for 2007". StateWatch. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]