As a small, local business you may have received a notice from Google about their new Google Business Apps and wondered what it was all about. After all, doesn’t Google provide their Apps for free? Why should I pay for them?
Google Business Apps includes the free stuff you may (or may not) already be using such as gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs…which are all free (at least for now) but it does go beyond that– and is appropriate for some businesses, but not all.
Are you using Google calendar or docs now? Whether or not you use them will not be affected by moving to Google Business Apps unless you have storage concerns or more users than the free version supports.
If you don’t have a lot of meetings at your business, if you are an office of 2 that are always together, the calendar function may not be useful to you at all.
Google Docs might be helpful if officemates or business colleagues need to share any forms, spreadsheets. For very small businesses this can generally be handled with the free version.
One advantage for businesses without a website is that the Business Gmail will have your company name as opposed to @gmail address.
There are also lots of other apps available, just like you can get apps for your smartphone, from 3rd parties that are helpful for some businesses. But you would need to search through the Marketplace to find the apps that you want to use. If you find one or two that save you time or help you be organized, reach customers, then yes, it could be worth the monthly fee of $5/month.
If you think you might want to try it they do have a free 30 day trial.
Comparison between the free Google products and the Google Business Apps: http://www.google.com/apps/intl/en/group/index.html
If you want to know more about the Google Business Apps features: http://www.google.com/apps/intl/en/business/features.html
This is an inexpensive feature that if it helps you can be worth the money. Each business will have to weigh how they would use it however. There is no reason to buy it if it won’t benefit you. Sure, it is cheap at only $5/month…but, I don’t know about you, but I can think of several charities who would be thrilled to have a few people give them an extra $5 a month.