Google plans to launch on Thursday a subscription-based version of its Google Apps hosted services for businesses, which offers more storage and customer support than the free, ad-supported version. The Google Apps products, previously called Google Apps for Your Domain, also now include Google Docs & Spreadsheets, which combines online word processing and spreadsheets, and they will support Gmail on BlackBerry devices.
The new Google Apps Premier Edition costs $50 per user account a year. It includes around-the-clock telephone support, and 10GB of storage per user compared with 2GB. The new edition also includes a guarantee of 99.9 percent uptime for Gmail and application programming interfaces that businesses can use to migrate data, enable single sign-on and do other integration. A free version targeted at educational institutions, Google Apps Education Edition, offers the same features as the premier edition except for the storage size. There is also Google Apps Standard Edition, which is free, but lacks the features of the premier edition.