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If Google wasn't free...

milivella [PersonRank 10]

Sunday, January 14, 2007
17 years ago17,263 views

How much would you pay to use Google, if it wasn't free? $1 a month for the web search? $25 a year for Gmail?

Pierre S [PersonRank 10]

17 years ago #

The competitors would come with something free, and I wouldn't pay.
I'm not used and ready to pay. I would only pay if the search results were awesome, even for complex requests.

David Hetfield [PersonRank 10]

17 years ago #

First of all...
thats the point of Google.. its simply free!! :)

id say im willing to pay 100$ a year for any type of service Google offers..
(i dont care if its 100$ per service or to all services..)

Eytan Buchman [PersonRank 10]

17 years ago #

In terms of searches, I don't know. I rely so heavily on Google that I haven't had a chance to really explore other options. If I couldn't find something satisfactory, I would say that $15 dollars a month would not be out of question. Gmail might also be worth a couple of dollars a month...either that or I would fall back on Thunderbird again.

noname [PersonRank 4]

17 years ago #

for me (as not US citizen) is the biggest problem "how to pay" then "how much". Many US (and some other nations) services simply do not work in many states.
So my answer – i am willing to pay generally any amount via watching the ads served with the services. It is the simplest way, and actually, it is how it works now. Its not for free, and that's important to mention. Google is not one of the richest company over the world for offering free services. He is so rich for ofering high-value services for some group, and let the other group pay for it (and takes a share).

Ionut Alex. Chitu [PersonRank 10]

17 years ago #

paid web search wouldn't work. it would be a very bad business model (think about Google Answers, newspaper archives). you couldn't link to a google search, it would be too restrictive, very few users to improve the results and to try all kinds of experiments => unsuccessful (on a wide scale).

also Googe earns much more from ads than having a subscription model for search, gmail etc.

so I wouldn't pay anything for search/gmail and I wouldn't use them if they weren't free. Google wouldn't have resources to sustain search, gmail etc. so they wouldn't be as good as today.

ropib [PersonRank 1]

17 years ago #

I would pay for something which is not free, not for something free everywhere. At home i use Linux and even at the office i try to use freewares.

For example Picasa is not interesting enough for me to pay more than $0.

Reto Meier [PersonRank 10]

17 years ago #

I hate to admit it, but I'm so dependent on Gmail I'd likely pay whatever they asked, up to say, £50 ($100US) a month. Wow. I can't believe that's actually true.

Can't see paying for search / maps /etc. – Yahoo has 'good enough' services to replace them if it came to free vs paid. I'd probably pay for groups too if push came to shove, though they'd become increasingly less useful as fewer people used as a result... I'd miss calendar and blogger but could live without them at this point.

Of course, moving Google to a paid model would be a suicide move – though things like enterprise level Google Apps for Your Domain could work, but really what you're paying for there is guaranteed service and a responsive support infrastructure, which I'd not pay for personally but would invest in for my business.

酷软 [PersonRank 1]

17 years ago #

10$ a year

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

17 years ago #

I'd probably pay something like (upper limit) $50/ month flat for access to all Google services, including (preferably) support.
I wouldn't pay just for Google search, and probably try it with Yahoo, which also has good results.
I also like Gmail a lot, especially in comparison to Hotmail/ Windows Live and even Yahoo Mail Beta, so I'd pay something like $10/ month for that (it would then be a no-ads version I guess).
Google News would be worth around $2/ month for me.

There are very little other services that I'd pay for. I once paid for Blogger Pro, but wouldn't anymore. And instead of paying for Google Analytics, I'd probably switch to another system, especially because Analytics isn't really good.

> paid web search wouldn't work. it would be a very
> bad business model (think about Google
> Answers, newspaper archives)

A lot of people paid at Google Answers, including me. It wasn't "paid searching" though. It was paid knowledge consulting, for which there is a market. I agree that paid searching itself might not be a great business model...

milivella [PersonRank 10]

17 years ago #

Just to add another point to the discussion: the service (among those I use) that has no rival, and so I'd pay for more easily, is Google Groups. I know, it's no more on the Google frontpage, etc. But I find it very useful.

Lyx [PersonRank 1]

17 years ago #

Google IS better than its rivals in many ways, including FREE for most services.
Theoretically I would pay, say 1 dollar per month for google search, but piratically I would go through this trouble of "payment" for some search result. If there are services free out there, and they are not THAT bad, I wouldn't choose to type in my credit card number.
$25 a year for gmail? Maybe if hotmail is still 2M in in size and yahoo in 10M. But since they have all raised it to 2G (thanks to google here), I wouldn't pay for gmail either.

Varun [PersonRank 3]

17 years ago #

I think $43.03/year for any of google services. Now you must be wondering why this weird amount. Actually 43.035 of statistics are useless :).

Well I won't ever pay anything for google, though I know it is the app which has been/is/will be used the most.

But the point is, habbits die hard. And when one habbit is making google almost your second will be to difficult to die, because not all of us are rich enough to pay for the search directly.

Though I think, Microsoft guys would think it to be their wildest dream come true..

TOMHTML [PersonRank 10]

17 years ago #

Maximum $20 / year. And only if there was an easy way to pay.

burlow [PersonRank 0]

17 years ago #

are you kidding? i like google, but i'd just as soon switch to a free search engine, should they charge. same with gmail. i love it, but not at a cost, sonsidering yahoo has an excellent free mail service as well. the only time i'd consider paying is if there were no other options, but quite frankly there are a lot of options out there.

Josh [PersonRank 0]

17 years ago #

Thanks to free operating systems, free open-source software, free (albeit illegal) downloads, free encyclopedias, free email/search, etc. one doesn't have to pay for anything anymore. So to answer the question, I would not pay for any Google service. If they started charging money, I'd switch to other free services. If there aren't, well, someone else will soon come along to offer the same, if not better, services for free.

Henrique Gusso [PersonRank 2]

17 years ago #

Wouldn't pay for Google search. Gmail is something else.

In the situation I am now, with the huge amount of important (and not so important) email saved, and the conversations layout, and the integrated Talk, and excellent design, and the email address with my first name only that I so luckily managed to grab, I'm pretty sure I would do whatever was needed to stay with this great mail service that Google offers us.

Benjamin Auer [PersonRank 0]

17 years ago #

100$ for everything + extra

gWilz [PersonRank 0]

17 years ago #

Well I currently pay $25 for expanded Google Picasa storage. It is worth it not having to rely on hard drive, thumb drives or CD for storage. Gdrive concept rules!

Tony Ruscoe [PersonRank 10]

17 years ago #

<< I'd probably pay something like (upper limit) $50/ month flat for access to all Google services, including (preferably) support. >>

That's the key for me. If I paid for Google's services as they are now, I would want decent support. (On a couple of rare occassions where I've tried to point out a few bugs/mistakes to them, I've had totally irrelevant responses trying to imply I was doing something wrong, so I would expect much better support than this if I was paying them something!)

What would I pay? Not much, if anything. I use Gmail but don't rely on it; I could easily live without it. Same goes for Analytics, Calendar, Docs and Spreadsheets, Maps, Talk, Reader and Webmaster Tools. I could either live without them or just use an alternative, free service. (Of course, if everyone else started charging, I would probably consider Google again – depending on price.)

I guess I might pay from Blogger – but only $20 per year or something as I could write my own blog software if I could be bothered. Same goes for hosting a Google Group, just because it's quite useful to have a mailing list and archive in one place – but I could just setup a forum that would do a similar thing. (I used to host my own photos but now I pay to use Flickr just because it's easier and quite cheap – Picasa Web Albums is too expensive by comparison.)

Elias Kai [PersonRank 10]

17 years ago #

Paying to Google. Not a Chance, it is meant to stay free.

First, if Google ask for subscription, you will have less users, less profitable business for advertisers, and the trust factor sometimes can be linked to free of charge.

Some people connect free to trust and some others don't.

And do not forget that the online community would never allow Google to be a paid service, let Google stay free and get even bigger and get money by another funnels than paying for search or Gmail.

In order to get to the mass things has to stay free.

Dave B [PersonRank 2]

17 years ago #

I figure All of Google's services bundled together are worth just as much or more to me than my monthly cable television service.

So about $60 for everything.

Venkatesh [PersonRank 0]

17 years ago #

I allready pay Google like $100 per month. This is just the google search. I am sure I click on at least 200 Ad's while searching for information on Google. I use google 30 days a month and click on at least 10 ads per day. do the math. Not because I want to, but some of the ads are relevant.

hmmmmm [PersonRank 1]

17 years ago #

Nothing, zero, nada :)

Ratatosk [PersonRank 1]

17 years ago #

I would be careful about the world "pay"

I think not many people would actually pay using google checkout and actually do it.

it's more the question. how much worth is it for you, as in: would you mind having this, but having a 100 dollars less a year? I think I would, but paying as in reality, everyone would probably switch. it's just a mind game

JohnLKnight [PersonRank 1]

17 years ago #

I'd pay for GMAIL, quite a lot actually, but ONLY if I felt they actually responded to service issues and had a dedicated customer service team.

But that's why most google stuff is free: they don't have any responsibility since we are not, technically, customers.

Jake's View [PersonRank 10]

17 years ago #

20 dollars a month, max.

Cooler [PersonRank 0]

17 years ago #

Absolutely nothing. I am the kind of person that can deal with slightly worse services that are free than better services that you have to pay for.

I actually did a test of search results once by comparing several search engines. I found that the top results were usually the same. What you are looking for can be found easily in today's world.

That is why Google needs to say competitive, and free.

Brian M. [PersonRank 10]

17 years ago #

I did roughly 15,000 Google searches in the last year. Google makes 10 cents a search. That means I earn Google $1,500 dollars a year on web search alone.

Nevermind that I have never clicked on a Google ad.

Walt [PersonRank 1]

17 years ago #

Guys stop giving google ideas!. By the way i would pay -$5 a month for all services. Thats right. Google would give me money.

notbeinguseful [PersonRank 1]

17 years ago #

I think it's interesting that everyone writes this off as being a ridiculous question. Maybe instead of phrasing it the way it is, maybe we could frame it in the slightly more plausible:

What if ISPs won the right to restrict access to Google (and Yahoo, MSN, etc.)? How large a fee would you be willing to pay to continue to use these services?

Andy Mo [PersonRank 0]

17 years ago #

I would like to pay $99 for one year service of Gmail+calendar+docs, especially for Calendar and Docs, I'd like pay $79 for them, because there is no ads now. I won't pay for search. Search engines earns much.

/pd [PersonRank 10]

17 years ago #

I"ll just easily pay them a flat fee of $99/- per annum for paid support. I have ;

gmail , groups, docs& SS, calender at other serviices that have a powerul kick to who I am and what I do. Why should I not be able to request for quality support at a price ?? My Quote for this service to google is clearly $99/- per person per year!!

Can Google enchance thier levels of SLA ?? Lets forget about the EULA's and get back to the fundamentals of business.. service me and I'll pay .why is so hard for a company to understand this fact ??

Goog's needs to listen to their commmunity.. we are their lifeline and this is our lives.. entwined with thiers :)-

Hashim [PersonRank 10]

17 years ago #

I would pay about $20 per month for a newspaper subscription, so I would pay that amount for Google search.

This question makes me appreciate how awesome it is that Google is free.

Grzegorz [PersonRank 0]

17 years ago #

$0 per month for Google search. I wouldn't pay.

Alok [PersonRank 1]

17 years ago #

I would move to Yahoo. Why pay when you can afford not to stay?

Daniele [PersonRank 1]

17 years ago #

I wouldn't pay...just use another search engine.

victorvijay [PersonRank 0]

17 years ago #

nice discussion, nice twist given by 'notbeinguseful' "What if ISPs won the right to restrict access to Google (and Yahoo, MSN, etc.)? How large a fee would you be willing to pay to continue to use these services?"

vanitha [PersonRank 0]

17 years ago #

until Google has nothing to research, nothing to introduce new services, believe Google won't impose any payment for its services. and even now its service isn't free.. millions of users inputs worth millions and millions are with them yet ....

Sidharth [PersonRank 1]

17 years ago #

I will ask Google to pay me. I will keep clicking on ad links and make google earn money, They can then pass a bit of it to me

Sidharth [PersonRank 1]

17 years ago #

Gmail is such a rocking service that I would not mind paying a couple of dollars monthly for it. But google loves the ads and we know that they will keep it free. However simply speaking Gmail is the best product to come out of google after Google itself (i.e. search)

shivaji [PersonRank 0]

17 years ago #

Even many people's crucial database is with Google. The database may be the testimonial for many people's future.......

Sidharth [PersonRank 1]

17 years ago #

Hey why should I pay for something that is in BETA ? So I will pay for Gmail only of it is out of BETA and solves all its security issues

Thierry Xavier [PersonRank 0]

17 years ago #

A lot of people here doesn't want to admit their google's dependence .

But if google wasn't free what would you do ?

For example, when you use google search at work. Would you (and your boss) have the patience to search the google's good results by a another way ? a longer way...
I mean, did you ever question yourself about the time you gain by using a powerful search engine like google.

If it wasn't free. The lost of time would be that huge that you'd (or your enterprise) be OK to pay.

Time equals money. When you save time, you save money too.

How many dollars you save when you find what you're looking for by using google.

For me, this waist of time justified a 100$ bill per month (for the minimum); just for the search services.


Gerrit Q [PersonRank 0]

17 years ago #

You have a good point there.

My question: It depends on the service. Google applications are really great features that you wouldn't find again in the web in this combination. But it's not only the features you see first hand, it is the support they give you. And this is worth nothing.

My GMail currently got hijacked and Google did not respond for a week. The only thing you get is the help pages that tell you the same x steps you can take. No solution. After a week, my account got deleted by Google without the try to recover it. Google says they would care about the customer's privacy and security, but don't take the actions to fulfill their statement.

It's really bugging me since I loved GMail and all the other apps Google ships and would have liked to keep on using it. But without the necessary support? Even in Beta, emergency procedures should be covered.

Imagine you have your credit information stored in Google Checkout, someone hijackes your account and Google doesn't help?

They earn a lot of money with the information you give them about yourself with your emails, searches, notes, news selections, group posts,...

milivella [PersonRank 10]

17 years ago #

I'll try to do a synthesis:

1. Once, I played with my friends a game called "I've never...", in which you have to tell something that you've never done andall the other friends have done. Now, the game has become such: ask a question to which half the persons answer "yes" and half "no". Well, the question "would you pay for Google services?" is such a question: many wouldn't pay, some would pay up to 100$ a month.

2. The real question is: what do Google services have more than competitors? (But you can ask yourself: what if there was no free alternative?) And maybe an answer is: Google is special because has a great base, and it has many users because it's free. So, the question is "Would you pay for Google?", and the answer is "Yes, because Google is free" (!).

3. Users don't pay for Google because they are not its customers: some people pay Google to tell us about them (via the ads). Google gives us services just to show ads, just as tv networks give movies and shows. (I prefer not to cite the paranoic hypothesis: Google has our personal data, and it can make money out of them.)

4. What is interesting is that some conscious user (i.e. that read Google Blogoscoped) actually click on the ads.


- Many people simply use only Google, so they don't know what really is Google worth.

- Some would pay for Gmail but not for the web search. Why? To have more safety?

notbeinguseful [PersonRank 1]

17 years ago #

I suppose I never really answered the question myself...

If the question is literally Google-only, of course I would use Yahoo or MS or AOL instead for all the same services. End of story.

If we're talking about ISP-restricted access to all services like those Google offers, I'd pay $10/mo. Basically, if we assume dialup under AOL's $19.95/mo in 1996 was about $10, then the other $10 was for content, technology, convenience, and support... which is what Google offers us now... minus the support. I choose 1996 as my basis because there were few mature competitors. (I eventually switched to Altavista and then to Google for Search.)

I wouldn't belittle Search. We all take it for granted, but imagine a Web where you could only find new sites if another site/friend linked to it. Sure we have blogs now that point to different new sites, but it wouldn't be the same. Without Search, you'd be mostly left with communication, gaming, reference, and news.

/pd [PersonRank 10]

17 years ago #

HBS has a good read here.."the business of free s/w"

Nikos [PersonRank 1]

17 years ago #

Nothing at all??? The web was born this way, free :)

I would even use for search and hotmail for mail than paying google for these (even though I am a google fanatic – both for search and mail)

Bobby T [PersonRank 0]

17 years ago #

$25 a month for all features (google hosted, gmail,, picassa, google earth, search/docs/calendar/froogle)

LCaution [PersonRank 1]

17 years ago #

Nothing for GMail. I consider it to be a distinctly second-class email product (no folders, no scroll bar at the bottom, no ability to right-click to open an email, etc., etc.). And the search functions are surprisingly lackluster.

As for the search. Hmmm, I suppose it would force me to give the other engines a longer tryout. So far, I always come back to Google and use it at least a dozen times a day.

flooted [PersonRank 1]

17 years ago #

Well, it's not really free. We already pay by watching advertisements. That's the point isn't it. Maybe if I paid Google an annual or monthly fee to use the services, then Google could pay me to look at their ads. Bottom line these days is that Google isn't really a search company, it is an advertising company that attracts viewers with good services. The reason I use Google over other offerings is because they don't use those those flashing pop-up ads. If they did I would stop using Google in about a week. I mean the service is good (but perpetually in Beta) and not that much different from the others (Yahoo, MSN, Lycos, etc). The main differences are about style, not technology or content. So would I pay, well I pay Google every day, and I hope they never forget it.

James R. [PersonRank 0]

17 years ago #

If they incorporated a larger, higher resolution "youtube" type presentation, I would be willing to pay $10-$20 a month. With the ability to store favorites – a little more.

Brinke Guthrie [PersonRank 10]

17 years ago #


Warren McDonald [PersonRank 0]

17 years ago #

When Google decided to include so much (some of which won't download) what was good became garbage!

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