Google is encouraging its existing Google Apps paying customers to promote the service to friends, and the company is offering a $15 per-referral cash bonus if users help Google sign up new paying customers.
The Google Apps Referral Program, which will allow existing users to receive a maximum of $1,500 as a reward for up to 100 such referrals, was announced March 10 by Prajesh Parekh of the Google Apps Marketing team, in a post on the Google Enterprise Blog.
“For those of us who use Google Apps, the ability to access all of our documents from anywhere on any device and being able to seamlessly collaborate with colleagues or customers across the world are impressive moments,” wrote Parekh. “These are moments we want to share with friends and colleagues because the more the people in our networks use Google Apps, the more seamlessly we can collaborate with them—whether it’s video conferencing via Hangouts, working together on Docs or sharing calendars. Best of all, it means we can all begin to experience a new way of working.”
That kind of enthusiasm among users is what helped inspire the referral program, he wrote. “Many of the millions of Google Apps customers learned about tools like Hangouts, Drive and Gmail for business from their customers, friends and networks. To help continue the momentum, we’re launching the Google Apps Referral Program. The referral program makes it easy to share Google Apps with your network and show them how they too can use these tools at work. To show our appreciation, we’re offering a $15 referral bonus for each new Google Apps user you refer.”
The program is open to Google Apps users in the United States and Canada for now, and could eventually be expanded in the future. Google has some 5 million Google Apps users around the world, according to the company. The cloud-based Google Apps includes Gmail, Calendar, Drive storage, Docs, Sheets and Slides services.
To sign up for the referral program, users must visit a sign-in page and enter their names and email addresses, plus accept a terms of service agreement. Enrollees in the program must also provide a valid taxpayer ID number and a bank account number to receive direct deposits for their referral fees. The new users who are signed up through the referrals must continue their Google Apps subscriptions for at least 120 days, according to the program rules.
Google is always working to update its Google Apps services.
Earlier this month, Google announced that it will drop support for the Google Apps Connector for BlackBerry Enterprise Server in March 2015. The coming change will affect Google Apps users who are using BlackBerry devices running BlackBerry OS 7 or older that are connecting to Google Apps through BlackBerry Enterprise Server version 5.0.3. By using the connector, enterprises could set up their Google Apps suite to integrate with BES, which allows employees to use built-in BlackBerry applications to access their Google Apps email, calendar and contacts.
In November 2013, Google announced that it would move all its Apps sign-in pages to have the same look for consistency and security, which meant that users will lose their personalization options. Under the changes, they are also losing the ability to customize their Google Apps sign-in pages with their logos and other branding information.
Google to Pay $15 for Google Apps Referrals to Grow Customer Base
Earlier in November, Google Apps announced that it will soon be will ending its support for Apps on Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 9 browser as it transitions users to the two latest versions of IE, Versions 10 and 11. That means that Apps users who are still browsing with IE9 will have to upgrade soon to IE10 or 11 to be able to continue to access and work on their files using Google Apps. Those upcoming changes affect users of Google Apps for Business, Education, and Government, according to Google. Google Apps only supports the latest two versions of supported Web browsers.
The last time that Google Apps made a similar transition was in September 2012, when IE8 users had to make the same transition to either IE9 or IE10 as Google Apps dropped support for the IE8 version of the browser, according to an earlier eWEEK report.
The Google Apps policy of supporting only the latest browsers began in June 2011 as big changes were beginning to arrive from new Web standards, such as HTML5. Newer, modern browser versions support many new capabilities that are not possible using older, outdated browsers, according to Google.
In October 2013, Google unveiled a new feature that allows Google Docs users to share files with others who are not using Google accounts. The new capability allows guest Docs users who are not signed in using a Google account to be able to view a file, but not make changes or edits, according to Google. The new feature permits, for the first time, users to share such documents with others who may not have their own Google accounts. Previously, users could only view such files if they were also logged into their Google accounts. Administrators and Google Docs users who already have file-sharing permissions can change the sharing settings as desired. The new file-sharing feature is available for users of Google Apps and Google Apps for Business, Education and Government, according to Google.
In December 2012, Google dropped its then-free Google Apps for Business services. Google made the move after deciding that most business users were quickly outgrowing it and signing up for paid accounts that offered additional services. The paid Google Apps for Business accounts started in 2007 when Google began charging $50 per user annually, a fee that provided larger inbox mail storage, access to Google APIs to allow businesses to build custom apps and other extra services. Google also added apps versions specifically aimed at governments, universities and schools.