Clearly I’m late to this party, but if you haven’t noticed, Google Apps for Domains is no longer free for up to 10 users. They hooked us with Gmail’s amazing spam features. Proceeded to open it up so you could put your domains email on their servers, with all the wonderful Google goodness for free. And now the cold hard truth comes out, I can only keep the domains already in their system for free, any new ones are going to cost me.
This reminds me of AT&T and their wonderful unlimited iPhone data plans. You know, the plan that has been discontinued and since caused an uproar resulting in lawsuits from customers among other outlets for frustrated users. Many are still grandfathered in, with some features like FaceTime conveniently disabled to try and force self-selection of tiered rate plans. Personally I don’t use that much data, I’m under 200mb so far this month on my iPhone and I only have to make it to the 3rd of March, but I just enjoy the idea that if I decided to stream audio to my phone constantly I wouldn’t be penalized for it. I digress. But unlike AT&T where if I change my data plan I can never return to unlimited status (save for a few corporate accounts, ahem), there is still one way to get an albeit limited Google Apps account set up for free.
Steps to Set-Up a 1-user Google Apps Account
- Get a Gmail account if you don’t already have one
- Sign up for Google’s AppEngine
- Once you are logged into the AppEngine navigate to the Dashboard
- Click Application Settings
- Scroll down to Domain Settings and click the Add Domain button
- Click that beautiful Google Apps sign-up link
Sadly, you will only be allowed a single user on your new Google Apps account, but luckily you can create aliases! It’s still possible to receive email from any firstname.lastname@example.org you want and be able to take advantage of all the spam control and new Google Drive features available.
But you desperately need the spam features with multiple users and can’t pony up $5/month per user? There’s still one sliver of hope left; It ain’t pretty, but it works. Set up your POP / IMAP email accounts with whatever web host currently handles the domain and website. Add these accounts in Gmail under the Settings page. You can receive all the incoming mail, spam filtered out, and send out from the account as if you had purchased the paid Google Apps package.
I’ve come to rely on Google for many, and I mean many, free services from email to analytics and obviously searching the web. But apparently they’re starting to take the old ‘beta’ products we’ve become accustomed to using freely and put them into production. Don’t get me wrong, these products are amazing. I dare you to find a better email service (free OR paid) with such excellent spam filters. They should be charging for more of their products. Google is excellent at taking technology and multiplying it’s value tenfold! What’s becoming clear, however, is that our dependence on Google is great, and as their grip tightens on users it begins to open gaps for competitors to fill those needs again. Hopefully someone can do it half as well.