Google announces a premium upgrade option for Gmail accounts used by small businesses

Google, owned by Alphabet Inc., announced on Monday that small businesses can upgrade their Gmail accounts to get more calendaring, video chat, and e-mail newsletter features.

Google Workspace Individual, which starts at $7.99 a month and includes a $2 discount for a limited time, is part of the company’s growing push to get customers to pay for some of its services, such as YouTube and Google Photos, in exchange for extra support and features that are otherwise free.

To “remind ourselves of the sheer number of people using our consumer products to run their businesses,” Javier Soltero, vice president of Google Workspace, told reporters that his unit had been saving photos of business cards or work vehicles mentioning a “@Gmail.com” address informally to “remind ourselves of the sheer number of people using our consumer products to run their businesses.”

Google revealed additional Workspace changes on Monday. Large businesses will be able to control the encryption of their data on Google Drive for the first time, preventing Google from decrypting it.

For the first time in years, both free and paid customers will have access to the same set of chat and e-mail services, making it easier to build new features, according to Soltero.

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