Google offers paid Gmail to firms

Photo: AP

Google moved a step closer to charging for the usage of Gmail as the company unveiled a paid option for small businesses, Reuters reported. The new features included in the paid mail include video chat and email newsletter functionalities.

Google Workspace Individual, which starts at $7.99 monthly now includes a temporary discount and adds to the company's expanding efforts to have users subscribe to some of its services such as YouTube and Google Photos in exchange for more support and features than are available for free. Subscription sales could help Google grow revenue beyond advertising.

The small-business offering compares with existing plans aimed at larger organizations that have their own websites to use in email addresses. Javier Soltero, vice president for Google Workspace, told reporters that his unit had been informally saving photos of business cards or work vehicles mentioning a "@Gmail.com" address to "remind ourselves of the sheer number of people using our consumer products to run their businesses." Those that upgrade for appointment booking, newsletter production and other tools should be able to provide a more professional experience to clients, he said.

Workspace Individual will launch soon in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Australia and Japan. Google announced other changes to Workspace on Monday. Big businesses will be able to control encryption of their files on Google Drive for the first time and prevent Google from unlocking them.

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