Latest posts by Ahmad Imran (see all)
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July 2017 Update: First published in 2016, this article has been updated and republished in July 2017 after I have used the G Suite for over an year now.
Google has labelled the Google Apps as “G Suite” as of September 2016.
The basic offering remains the same with all apps now bundled under the G Suite banner. Watch the following 1-minute video to know a bit more.
If you signed up for Google account (including Gmail, Drive and Docs etc.) before the 6th of December 2012, you can still enjoy the free version of the Google Apps. Google calls it “Google Apps Free Edition (Legacy)”.
The free apps option is not available anymore though.
If you are thinking of joining the Google Apps club, you will have to pay for the GSuite.
Your two options are (excluding enterprise);
- GSuite Basic or Standard at £3.30 ($5) per user per month
- GSuite Business (with Google Vault and unlimited storage) for £6.60 ($10) per user per month
In general, GSuite is a collection of 11 apps split into 4 main categories. In the “Business” upgrade, you get an extra app, Google Vault (eDiscovery covering your emails, chats, documents and files).
Here are the 12 apps split by their functional categories.
- For storage – Google Drive
- For communication – Gmail, Hangouts, Calendar and Google+
- For collaboration – Docs, Sheets, Forms, Slides and Sites
- For management – Admin and Vault
I signed up for my Google account before December 2012 so I was enjoying the free version of these apps. No issues and all dandy until I felt the need to step up.
In 2016, I signed up for the GSuite Business (at that time, it was titled as Google Apps for Work Unlimited). I have been using and paying for it for over an year now.
In this article, I am going to tell you my thought process and why I believe that someone in my circumstances (or similar) should consider the paid GSuite model.
You might be thinking why pay for the service, while you can enjoy it for free?
There are a few reasons for it. Perhaps one or two reasons from the paragraphs below can tempt you to jump on to either standard or business version of the Google Apps (GSuite)
Let us explore the 5 key headings around why pay for GSuite.
Reason No. 1 – GMail Dominance and Versatility
It was the ability to archive my every single email and retrieve it easily when required in the future.
As a blogger (and a website owner), it is critical for me to have a full set of my emails (sent and received) available and searchable in case if I need it for future reference.
I have ambitious plans to grow and I am sure, soon I will be in a position where I need to keep these emails for compliance and records etc.
Be it a requirement to manage emails, label them, categorise them or search and retrieve them, there is a need for a robust email solution.
There was one solution that ticked this requirement after a lot of research and comparisons.
But not the free version. Free version only allowed me [email protected] address format.
Gmail under “GSuite Business” offers [email protected] email address type. This is achieved by changing MX records through your hosting provider easily. Don’t worry, it is not a difficult process, it is all explained here.
“However, most importantly, Gmail offered me storing, archiving and e-discovery (searching) of my emails under Google Vault app. The feature I wanted the most. Period.”
I am not tied with my hosting-provided email account anymore. It only offered a 2GB quota on each email account and a half-decent web-based email interface. Not good enough for someone who tends to use the main personal email on a long term basis as a part his main website.
I am with Gmail now which offers me unlimited storage (1TB until I get my website big enough to have 4 more users), a full archiving and retrieval service and a host of useful features through other Google Apps included in the same package.
No brainer. I am in.
There is no doubt in my world that Gmail is a very strong email client and service. I have used it for years without any issues. Strong, reliable and fast.
Where do you stand and how important are your email service and the email client for you?
Do you need an email service which is fully archive-able and search-able?
Reason No. 2 – Cloud at the Core of it (Chromebook-Friendliness)
Gone are the days when I was addicted to use software downloaded and running from my local computer.
I am a Chromebook person now and more importantly, a Cloud-lover.
Due to my nature of use and no demand for any high-tech and specialist software, I am fully content and happy with the software that are cloud-based and are run/managed through cloud (in simple words, online)
This helps me to keep my personal computer light, smart and fast. I call it a Chromebook. If you want to see why I say that, read my 10 main reasons to have a Chromebook as a strong personal computing device.
GSuite Apps are cloud-based and have the backing of Google’s robust and reliable servers and data centers across the globe. Be it a document, photo, spreadsheet, form, slide or just an email, I am always connected to the internet and working from the Google Cloud.
There is an offline support available for many of the Google Apps (including Gmail) but in my over 3 years of using Google Apps, I never felt the need to use their offline working feature for more than a few hours at a time and it was only occasionally.
Where do you stand?
Are you a cloud person or do you still like to have more control over your data and apps by installing, storing and running from your laptop or desktop?
Reason No. 3 – Trust in Google – Security and Reliability
Well I have heard this many times that some people are reluctant to trust Google too much. They say that it is not safe to give Google too much of your data and information.
My stance is different.
As a common user, I don’t think that I trust any other company for my information more than Google. Their offering is solid, their reputation is huge and there is a proven track record.
Have a read of security related Google’s FAQ page for the Apps users. All key questions are answered and frankly speaking, I don’t want to hire a lawyer or a security expert to dig holes in the Google’s offering.
The question we need to ask is, if not Google then who else?
I have been with Google for years. I never had any issues with their service. Always solid, always reliable. This is a huge peace of mind for me that it will take a lot for Google to be de-stabilised.
All I can do is to be vigilant.
Keep an eye on news and proceedings in the technology world. Keep backups (outside of Google) wherever I can. And be flexible that if circumstances change, I have an ability to move my data across to a different platform.
As it stands in 2017, Google is going strong.
Reason No. 4 – Simple Yet Comprehensive for My Use (and Fast)
I only use a few of the G Suite Apps at this stage.
Mainly Gmail, Drive, Google+, Docs and Sheets.
But that is only me, three years into blogging and online presence.
Who knows that in a few months or a few years from now, there are more Google apps that I am using and benefiting from for my website and brand. We always need to keep our options open as much as we can,
Gmail is simple, yet versatile for me.
I use Outlook (Microsoft) at work with a conventional exchange server and localised storage (folders) structure.
At home and for my website, I use Gmail with everything in the Cloud.
You want my honest opinion, Gmail feels like a heaven. Easy, fast, painlessly searchable and reliable. Yes, the interface can be better but I am sure it will improve further with the passage of time. Don’t forget that you are working in your browser’s window so there are limitations but for my use, it is perfect and more than appropriate.
For my storage needs, I have started using the Google Drive.
With the business account, I get 1TB of total storage spread across different apps. This is a lot of space for my needs at this stage. In a few years time, if my website grows and I add 4 more users (paid) to this account, this 1TB storage will convert to fully unlimited.
Don’t forget that your pictures and videos are not counting towards the overall storage allowance. Google offers unlimited and free storage of your photos and videos (with minor cavetas) through Google Photos. Read more here.
Google+ was not a part of the core apps suite but it is now.
I use it as a strategic social media platform for my blog. Not as big as Facebook or Twitter but there are clear SEO benefits in using Google Plus. I specifically like its “Communities” feature where I can gather information, engage with people and market my own content in front of focused group of people relating to a particular topic.
All collaborative apps (Docs, Sheets, Slides and Forms etc.) provided by Google have replaced my conventional MS Office programmes.
It took me some time for this transition but with the passage of time, I am getting more and more used to and comfortable with Google Docs (Word equivalent) and Google Sheets (Excel equivalent) specifically. For my occasional needs, I have used Google Slides as well (Powerpoint equivalent)
Yes, they might not be as detailed and as versatile as resident MS Office suite of programmes on your computer, but do you really need that level of features and sophistication for your daily needs? This is the question you need to ask from yourself.
If your answer is like me (which is NO), cloud-based Google Apps are all you need. Give them a try today, you won’t regret. If you feel they are not for you, you can always ignore and revert back.
Have you been a comprehensive user of any of the Google Apps?, if so, share your experience and feedback with us in comments below.
Reason No. 5 – Features to Price Ratio – The Value
First of all have a look at what do you get when you sign up to either “G Suite Basic” or the more versatile “G Suite Business with Unlimited Storage and Vault”.
And then look at what you need to pay per month.
£6.60 for business version ($10) per month per user. If you are starting solo like me, this is all you need to pay every month.
If Google Vault and 1TB storage (unlimited storage if 5 users) are not required, you are only going to pay £3.30 ($5) per month.
In my case, I jumped on to the G-Suite Business account straight away. I don’t know where it sits in your personal circumstances. You need to have a strong set of reasons to decide and join the GSuite plan based on your budget.
Is it the cloud-centric nature, value for money or the trust in Google?
Only you are the best judge.
Why Paid G-Suite Apps?
If you ask me why Google Apps, my answer will be because it ticked all the boxes for me in my current circumstances.
But your circumstances might be different to mine.
I hope this article has given you a flavour of the G Suite Apps and packages.
This is how I recommend products and services to my readers – by giving them enough reasons to think about. Only by trying, using, analysing and then putting my thoughts forward.
I believe in personal experience and real-life feedback. It doesn’t matter if something looks good on paper and in advertisements. What really matters on REASONTOUSE is the real value and real-life feedback based on experience and testing.
I will keep using the service and if I am still with Google Apps after one year from now, I will write and share my yearly review of the service with you – in July 2018.
If you have an experience of trying and using “Google Apps”, share your thoughts with us.
You can write here in detail about any of the Google Apps which you have used comprehensively and like it. Alternatively, leave a comment below with a summary of your experience with any app. If relevant and useful, I will add your comment in the main body of the article with your permission and reference.