Would you pay $5/month to use Google? Ryan 04 Nov 2005

278 comments Latest by Rhoda

If Google wasn’t free, would you pay $5/month for it?

278 comments (comments are closed)

Oscar Duignan 04 Nov 05


Myles Braithwaite 04 Nov 05


RSM 04 Nov 05

Probably not

Mike Wills 04 Nov 05

If it was just search… no. But for everything… heck yes!

Tom Richards 04 Nov 05

Yes. Gmail, google maps, and good ol’ search would make it more than worth it - as long as this $5 meant I would no longer see ads.

Christopher Fahey 04 Nov 05


David 04 Nov 05

of course. Think of the time Google saves you throughout the week.

no 04 Nov 05


Pedro Beltrao 04 Nov 05

No. They already get a lot of money from advertising and a lot of my “identity” data to pay for their good services.

joelfinkle 04 Nov 05

Don’t think of it as $5/month, think about a $60/yr subscription.

Less than some magazines.

Cheaper than the nearly-yearly upgrade fees on a lot of software (just keeping, say Encarta up to date could cost you that much).

Cheaper than the AOL “tax” to use the internet through their dial-up.

I’d say, “Hell yes.”

and, “I hope I don’t have to.”

Tom 04 Nov 05

I’d grumble about it, but I’d still sign up for the wonderful service provided, like GMail, Google Earth/Maps, Froogle, Google News, etc.

Andi 04 Nov 05

I would now that I’ve proven to myself Google’s worth. If I had to rely on their marketing or some kind of limited trial, I probably wouldn’t pay.

not my real name 04 Nov 05

if there were acceptable alternatives - no.
if everything of any use was charging as well - probably.

Keith 04 Nov 05

I would, but only if it bought me advertising free searches.

Rahul 04 Nov 05

Depends. We’ve been conditioned to accept that search engines and accompanying services are “free”. But if Google were the first search engine with such an extensive set of services on the side and they introduced their product clearly, charging $5/month for it, then it would be different. Look at Hotmail’s premium plan. It was considered the norm to charge money for extended webmail functionality until Gmail came along and blasted even that extended functionality out of the water, and did so for free.

Diego Pires Plentz 04 Nov 05


Lars Pind 04 Nov 05

This is a pretty interesting question. Sure, they provide much more than $5/month worth of value. But, come on, Google is Google. They’re the new Evil Empire! And they make lots of ad money from every move I make on their site. That ought to cover it, no? Well asked question :)

Abby 04 Nov 05

Yes. But I would feel betrayed. :( The combination of Google’s awesomeness + freeness represents my utopian-democratic ideal of what the web can and should be. It’s the best search engine, period, and to make it acccessible only to those with a credit card, to place a barrier in front of those who can’t afford it, would be a shame. I certainly don’t expect this of everyone on the web, but Google sets the standard. It’s practically a requirement for civilization — like paved streets and running water. Should it need funding, I would hope that the wealthy technosavvies amongst us would altruistically choose to support it for the good of humanity.


misuba 04 Nov 05

I would, and I’d be happy to have AdWords alongside my searches as well - because if AdWords went away, even more people would be trying to relentlessly game Google’s results.

Anonymous 04 Nov 05

Don’t take this the wrong way but how about we think of this in comparison to Backpack? In that case I’d have to say a resounding, “Yes.”

John Kopanas 04 Nov 05

It is not that I don’t think that the services Google offer are not worth $5/month… it is just that we have never paid for search before so it just would not feel natural to pay for it.

Funny as that might sound… it makes sense to me. :-)

TheBrad 04 Nov 05

You bet your sweet bippy I would.

JP 04 Nov 05

And where do you think sites like Blingo get their data from?

Cap'n Jack 04 Nov 05

No way! Instead I would build Google’s evil twin brother Smoogle and offer it for free to everyone….then would come Smail, Smoogle Maps, and Smroogle.

I would set up a non-profit foundation so Smoogle would have no advertising.

Justin French 04 Nov 05

I’d pay $5-10 for the search alone — when I think about it, Google is more useful to me on a daily basis than Backpack and Basecamp combined. The problem is the many many competitors that offer a similar level of service for free.

Michael Wardle 04 Nov 05

Yes, I would, however there would be no need since MSN Search, A9.com, or perhaps another search engine would happily provide similar features for free.

Steve Turner 04 Nov 05

I’d have to say no and yes.

No, if all the other alternatives out there were still free. Having to pay for Google in that situation, as good as Google is, wouldn’t make much sense.

Of course, if all the other alternatives were similarly priced, then yes, I’d quite happily pay for Google’s services.

Sam 04 Nov 05

Firstly, to answer your question: haaaayylllzz no. it would be like paying for a toll road. there are other roads to take, why spend the coin?

However, (I wish I could remember where I read this, can’t find it again), someone blogged that making people pay even just a dollar for a blogspot blog or for a gmail address would put a big ol’ gash in spam coming from those avenues. when blogs or email addresses are a commodity, spammers can use it that much easily (as we’ve seen with the recent blogspot spam circus). Charging a dollar via a real credit card would definitely make spammers think twice about mass harvesting blogspot blogs.

But that is an interesting point though, I wonder why no one has built a search system that you have to pay to use. A ‘luxery’ search engine, if you will. Cmon! You know you’re thinking of someone right now that would pay just to be ‘elite’

a meandering comment, indeed.

Jim Renaud 04 Nov 05

JP: I know where they get there data from, but one of the reasons for Google’s success is because of it’s public API.

S.C. 04 Nov 05


Chad 04 Nov 05

I might pay it for Google, but I definitely would fork out the cash for a search engine built by 37signals. ;-)

Justin Rudd 04 Nov 05

I would. My thoughts mirror most of what others have said. Given all the tools of theirs that I use. But I would definitely want true search results vs. paid listings at the top.

Brian Barbutti 04 Nov 05

If Google had started as a paid service, I wouldn’t and I believe not many would. But if they started tomorrow to charge for their services, I would seriously consider the possibility of paying.

kayhan 04 Nov 05

the answer is nope! but I wouldn’t mind paying $5 to Vivisimo.com. At list they go extra mile and group the searh results for user needs.

Not to mention A9.com is giving you some discount on next Amazon.com shopping or Blingo.com has sweepstakes every hour (don’t miss your chance to win an iPod just for using their search engine).

julian 04 Nov 05

Yes, though I wouldn’t want to see any ads and it would be nice if it could look a little better.

kellan 04 Nov 05


But I’d want more transparency (sort of like I’d want from my other utility companies, but I’m not getting it from them either)

Dave Astels 04 Nov 05

Of course.

Ryan Kuykendall 04 Nov 05

Absolutely. Search by itself would be worth $5 a month. There is no better tool available that can help facilitate problem solving.

Pick Your Subscription 04 Nov 05

I don’t pay for any 37signals products because I’m already paying for so many other things each month, and those suckers add up. Whatever Google is worth, it’s worth orders of magnitude more to me than Basecamp or Backpack. And, it’s “free”.

Jamison 04 Nov 05

Doubtful, but I only tend to use Google Search and occasionally Google Maps and Google News. If I used other services such as Google Groups, Gmail or Blogger, it would probably be well worth $5, but not just for search.

Matt Jankowski 04 Nov 05

I wonder how that decision would affect google’s revenue… Assuming they did a $5 charge across the board and not a “$5 to remove ads” policy. I bet the revenue they make selling ads that users of a free service see is higher than the fee revenue they’d make from a closed service.

Turnip 04 Nov 05

I wouldn’t, my employer would ;)

Rod Begbie 04 Nov 05

Yes. Without a second thought, yes.

Every so often, I do a quick “Are any of the other search engines better than Google?” sanity check, and every time I return to Google.

Jordan 04 Nov 05

I’d pay $5 a month for a group of services from Google (perhaps a menu, pick 5?). But not for Search, no.

Matt 04 Nov 05


Chris 04 Nov 05

Not as Google currently is.

Maps are nice but I don’t need them everday or even every month. I have my own mailserver so gmail isn’t that compelling that I’d pay for it. Search? There are other things for that. I find I’m looking for things more specifically now, either a wikipedia search or something in the del.icio.us realm.

Most importantly though, why would I give 5$ to a company that consistently treats my platform (OS X) like a red-headed step-child?

Rahul Sinha 04 Nov 05


Even if they still displayed ads, I’d pay $5, even $10, without complaint.

Then again, I pay for .Mac ($100/yr, or 8.33/month) without complaint.


Jim Jeffers 04 Nov 05

How could you not pay for it? I mean you can’t really live without it at this point. They’ve got us all by the balls.

Dave 04 Nov 05

Is this a roundabout way to ask for people to pay for the entry level amount for Backpack?

Slow Motion Quick Thinking 04 Nov 05

No, and I think if you had to, there’d be a new very popular search engine very soon after

seth Weintraub 04 Nov 05

no, I’d use Yahoo or M$N or whatever is the second best search…everything google does is done by someone else

Nick 04 Nov 05

In a heartbeat.

Rob Sanheim 04 Nov 05

For how much I rely on Gmail, I would probably pay more then that for access.

Adam Lindsay 04 Nov 05

Yes, but only til someone figured out that the same thing could be offered for free and supported with non-invasive advertisements along the right side. :)

PJ Hyett 04 Nov 05

For just searching? No. For GMail, Google Reader, Google search, Google images, Google video, Google Scholar, and Google maps? In a hearbeat.

Joildo Santos 04 Nov 05

Of course. Good Services: Gmail, Maps, Reader, Picasa

Ross Hill 04 Nov 05

If all their localised stuff including high res satellite maps, road maps, and froogle worked in Australia :)

Andrew Hollister 04 Nov 05

At first I thought I would reacquaint myself with Yahoo;
But after a few minutes, the scales tipped from the new Yahoo maps to my beloved Gmail. Almost two years and less than 12 spam messages, I would gladly pay $5/month just for that.

I use it more than my:
$5 Backpack
$12 Basecamp
$15 Rhapsody

Matt 04 Nov 05

Just thinking about how many times I use google searches every day, and gmail, and google maps, of course I would. I would pay $10 a month, and see the ads.


Colin Coghill 04 Nov 05

I’d pay $5 or more to see it without ads, absolutely. That goes for quite a few sites too. But it’d have to be very easy and safe to pay.

sxates 04 Nov 05

I wouldn’t. In my opinion, MSN search in on par with google these days, and there are tons of mapping alternatives, email alternatives, etc.

Really though, I think google probably makes more money from their ad services than they would if they switched to a paid model. Otherwise they would have done it already.

Mike 04 Nov 05


Ben Askins 04 Nov 05

Yes, no doubt about it.

Justin Blake 04 Nov 05

Wow, this blog is getting more and more pointless.

Detroit 04 Nov 05

for those playing at home:

NO: 18
YES: 35

i’m not counting the indecisive folks who can’t answer a hypothetical question.

my answer doesn’t matter.

finally, how does the average joe use google Earth? and yes, i’m serious.

Dan Esparza 04 Nov 05


However, I’d like to see a noticible increase in product/service enhancements for my $5.

I’d be willing to give Google the ‘benefit of the doubt’ for a good 6 months, though.

Eugene Chan 04 Nov 05

Yes, if it included free wifi everywhere. And if Eric Schmidt would tutor my kids.

Michael Moncur 04 Nov 05

I’d pay $50 a month for Google searches if I had to. I wouldn’t expect that to last more than 3 months before a free, as-good-as-Google competitor emerged, though.

Don Wilson 04 Nov 05

As it currently is? No. I would never pay for something that I’ve already used for so long and not receive anything new from it.

Ben Clemens 04 Nov 05

I think where this question is coming from is that $5/month works out to $60/year, multiply that by the number of estimated unique number of users that Google has yearly (150 million) gives you $9 billon, which happens to be what G makes in ad revenue. I think Jason is indirectly trying to compare the monthly model vs. the ad model. I do think that Google’s ecosystem of advertisers (clickfraud & SEO aside) is a generally good thing, though, so all in all I would say that we’d all be poorer if Google charged a monthly fee instead of an ad model. I don’t think that a monthly model is less ‘evil’.

Danny Cohen 04 Nov 05

duh, yes.

Anonymous Coward 04 Nov 05

Is there a more fabulous example of how incredibly CHEAP people are?

aronwithamissinga 04 Nov 05


Paul 04 Nov 05

No, unless it includes some features that are really great that we just can’t do without. If Google charges, users can always to move to yahoo or msn… which is bad for Google.

Pricing vs features included in this $5 must be well balanced and catering to user’s needs. Hm… are you guys planning something at $5? =p

A Nonnie Moose 05 Nov 05

No. I will never pay for anything in beta.

If Google thought Gmail is good enough for my money, then it should be good enough to finally release it. (It’s really beginning to feel like one of those highschool sweetheart relationships where, while they’ve been happily together for 15 years, the guy still won’t buy a ring.)

Kyle 05 Nov 05

@anon: Hahaha, too true. There probably isn’t a quicker, or even accurate index of that much information any where in the world, and $5 seems like a bargain.

I’d pay that much just for Gmail, but honestly, if I’m paying for Gmail, I’d want to host it on my own servers, or at least my employers servers, so that I don’t have to worry about privacy issues, or not owning my own data.

Gmail is the killer app for me, more so than Search. The only time I really use Google search all that much is when sites have it tied in as the default search engine. Otherwise, I usually able to go a day or so without Google Search, and I could probably go longer if it wasn’t there.

Bob 05 Nov 05

Yes, without a doubt. The amount of time I’ve devoted to training myself to search with Google is worth a lot to not have to switch engines.

Derik 05 Nov 05

No. I’d just move on to Yahoo, which has been making huge strides in competing with Google.

nick 05 Nov 05

of course. i pay $30 for broadband, and broadband is nearly worthless without search. Google *is* search, full stop.

Mike 05 Nov 05

No way! There is lots of other tools that are at least on par with Google so there is no way that I would pay.

Andrew 05 Nov 05

I’d switch to yahoo.

choonkeat 05 Nov 05

I’ll start looking for alternative ways of leading my life. Worse case, I don’t mind ending up paying.

Samo 05 Nov 05

No. Google does not make me any money, why should I pay for it? Stuff like Basecamp I can understand paying for, but there really are other alternatives around for searching, webmail, etc.

mark rush 05 Nov 05

dont be daft, no one would use it because there are 100’s of free alternatives out there, why doesnt the guba search engine have more subscribers than google, because its paid of course!


Davide 05 Nov 05

Probably yes, but it must increase the privacy.

ahmet 05 Nov 05


Greg 05 Nov 05

Nah. I’d use Yahoo search, Ask Jeeves, or even MSN search. Really, Yahoo search is nearly as strong as Google these days.

Search, like a browser, is a commodity; even the best vendor won’t be able to charge for it because there are too many adequate alternatives. For most commodity applications, “free and adequate” beats “fee and excellent.”

pat 05 Nov 05

Google, when you include all the features, is worth it, but part of what makes Google what it is, is that it’s free. In fact, Google saved “free”. Search was being degraded by paid for results when Google rose to become synonomous with search. More recently, good and free e-mail seemed like a thing of the past and then Gmail came along and changed the entire game. Ad sense made advertising supported services possible again.

If Google went for pay, even at that small amount, it wouldn’t be the the savior of the free internet anymore. That would be sad.

Anonymous 05 Nov 05

On balance, no. Yahoo! algorithmic search listings are statistically as relevant as Google listings (although it is agreed that relevency is a subjective concept that is difficult to measure). The same goes for all of Google’s other services: there are viable alternatives for each of Google’s main products that are free.

This brings out an interesting point regarding Google’s product development: specifically that they don’t provide anything particularly unique by design. Rather their approach when exmained in-depth can be likened more to Microsoft than to the “innovation pioneer” that their brand image perpetuates (this is not to say that Microsoft is not innovative, but rather to suggest that their development strategies are not that different). They have taken technology invented and pioneered by others (search, e-mail, RSS, online news, etc. or in the case of Microsoft the graphical UI, word-processing, etc.) and given the UI or the process a little tweak (add storage, simplify the design, reduce barriers to entry etc.) to re-sell a product that if produced by another company would be considered mediocre at best (case in point Google Talk, Google Reader, Google News).

I am neither pro-Google or anti-Google but I find it amusing that for some reason people find Google services to be “the greatest thing since sliced bread” and “amazingly innovative” when in fact they are things that have usually been around for some time and are easily provided at equal quality by other companies already. Sorry for going off-topic! Am I alone in holding this opinion? Maybe this is the wrong blog to speak critically about Google? (I know it is not the place to suggest that Apple is anything other than the golden calf, maybe this is in the same vein!)

Nick 05 Nov 05

Well I don’t think the market will bear that model. I think if Google started to charge $5/month, search would migrate to a cheaper solution in the form of Yahoo and MSN. It’s too late to recondition consumers to a pay model.

I might pay $5/month if there was some incremental value to the search, enhanced features and functions; (e.g. saving searches and info from around the web, more personalized search, etc.)

Paul 05 Nov 05

I’d just switch to using Yahoo! or MSN instead. I don’t think Google is worth paying $5/month for - it probably offers a better search than the other two big players, but not enough to warrant reaching into my wallet.

August 05 Nov 05


Because if I payed $5 a month for every tiny little service (on top of insurance, and rent, and food, etc, etc, etc) I’d be bankrupt before I got halfway through the list of services I use on a regular basis.

Anders M 05 Nov 05

I would pay $5 for Gmail, not for searching since others would provide similar services for free.

I would also pay for a *working* online bookmark service. Even the new Microsoft Live Favorites sucked.

Anonymous Coward 05 Nov 05

On a related note, would you pay $15 bucks for a $10 hooker.

Vaidyanathan 05 Nov 05

The fact that google/yahoo is giving me back relevant results for free helps them gain my trust without which I would not trust to click on their sponsored/ad links.

The fact that no search engine pays a content owner for crawling their website means that the search engines are living on someone else’s content. If google adds value to it then i might consider paying for the results. So I would pay google if i could read those books they have scanned instead of buying them from a shop as opposed to just letting me read a few lines and telling me where to buy it.

ofcourse the service provided by google is great but if there were no search engines (or searching was too expensive) then i would be relying on forums, blogs, friends etc. for materials and links. Without search engines I guess there would be no link spams just email spams so i think i would be able to trust the links on blogs and forums.

Brokekid.net 05 Nov 05

Without a doubt!

bekee 05 Nov 05

prof. me: nope; and here’s why: we’ve (at work) put alot of stock in our search engine results, google’s being most important. if it were to cost our customers to use it, we’d have to start paying more attention to all other engines on the assumption that they wouldn’t pay either.

home me: yea, i probably would. but it wouldn’t be as cool. :)

Alex Hutton 05 Nov 05

I just had the same thought. If that would make email more private and ad-free? Maybe for all their services.

It’s interesting to wonder if that would mean more or less revenue for them. Oddly enough, I’d be willing to bet that their market valuation and influence would be smaller - Google is, after all, an advertising company more than anything.

dagny 05 Nov 05

That depends on what other services are available and their cost. If yahoo search was free, I doubt I’d find google worth $5/month. What’s the value vs. what’s the price.

OL 05 Nov 05

I agree with Nick. Charging for something that’s been free for so long would be tough to pull off. If Google were the only search available that would be one thing, but being the best search isn’t enough.

It would be like charging $5 a month for the right to sit in a really nice park bench when other free park benches are close by.

Jeff Adams 05 Nov 05


I would go so far as to say that if they even offered a $5 ad-free search alongside the free version I would even stop using google all together. It’s the principle of the thing. Google isn’t the be all end all of the online world.

I don’t use gmail. Google maps is easily replaceable. Blogger, I could care less about. The only thing I use on a regular basis is google search and yahoo/msn work just as well.

Stridey 05 Nov 05

Not unless all the other search engines were subscription only too. I mean, they’re not google, but I’d be willing to settle with another search engine if google made you pay.

Rafael Apocalypse 05 Nov 05

If was for the entire service, Yes, but not US$ 5,00, if was R$ 5,00 YES.

In Brazil, the Real [ our money ] One US Dollar it’s like almost tree Reals, so pay in Dollar it’s a lot expansive.

Just to you know an Ipod Shuffle in US costs like US 90,00 in Brazil you can’t buy for less than R$ 900,00 ten times more.

mikelator 05 Nov 05


Larry Page 05 Nov 05


Sergey Brin 05 Nov 05

larry! you f*** bastard! say: YES! YES!

Paul Watson 05 Nov 05

Yes, definitely. It finds solutions to problems with fast and easy searches every single day.

kakei 05 Nov 05

Why Not? I use google everyday i use Gmail, it’s 5€ For Google EARTH,search Engine and Gmail YES.

Chechu 05 Nov 05

For God sake, NO!

Chechu 05 Nov 05

For God’s sake, NO!

Tom 05 Nov 05


Red 05 Nov 05

Nah. I’d just use Yahoo or (gasp) MSN instead.

Nick Florez 05 Nov 05


Todd 05 Nov 05

No way.

La Isla de Encanta 05 Nov 05


Matthew 05 Nov 05

I would definitely pay $5 a month for google. I use google at least 10 times a day and its my prefered search engine.

Amy 05 Nov 05

I wouldn’t pay for the search or gmail, but google maps alone is worth $5.00/Month!

warren 05 Nov 05

if it still had ads? no.

especially if yahoo wasn’t charging.

Ed Byrne 05 Nov 05

Yes - without a doubt! No other search engine come close, and I use Google countless times every day.

It’s the single most used ‘application’ on my computer, how could I live without it, and 5 a month would be nothing for the value I get from it.

Swati 05 Nov 05


I feel that Google search has had little improvements and through google bomb is easy to render it useless. I am not too fond of their algorithm.

Gmail is good because I can access my email from anywhere and the storage is really nice. I’ve used up 500mbs and it still is at 20%.

However, I wouldn’t pay for it. If they start charging, I’ll go to Yahoo for search and email. Their search is pretty good and email is a good size as well.

Tom 05 Nov 05

Yes, there are some services that google is uniquely placed to offer that can not be easily monetized by advertising.

For example, Google could offer an online storage space. (Some people already use the gmail file system and encrypt the data.) The only problem from Google’s perspective is that there is no way to target advertise based on encrypted data and no place to put an ad anyway.

They could also offer a text edit area with the nifty spell checker as a service for a fee. Again, Google couldn’t directly advertise on someone else’s site, but having this component would greatly benefit other websites. It would only make sense that these other sites would pass some revenue back to google for the service.

pqs 05 Nov 05

this won’t happen, it would be agains google interest.

James 05 Nov 05

No. I don’t use it now, and it’s free. Wouldn’t start if they charged.

Felipe 05 Nov 05

NO, N,O, nooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!

Kesava Mallela 05 Nov 05

Charging $5 is like asking countries like India and China to innovate, because $5 is not affordable everywhere on this planet.

Christoph 05 Nov 05

I would. If still would then still be the number one search engine (and they would finally expand google maps to cover Europe).

Petit Jean Claude 05 Nov 05

Certainly not

clrwdt 05 Nov 05


prasoon 05 Nov 05

Yes, definitely yes..
GMail, REader and the Search - its tuf to imagine my life without Google.

Brian Griffin 05 Nov 05

$60/yr to get my freedom/data back? Nice idea. And damn frightening.

Thomas Baekdal 05 Nov 05

No way. They make too much money already on other people’s content

Sm8 05 Nov 05

Come on it’s the price of a sturbucks frapuccino, hell yeah I’d pay it for that awesome service

Davo 05 Nov 05

Maybe, but my ‘mum’ wouldn’t (rolling out female / age sterotypes). Given a ‘basic’ requirement, why would anyone pay for something that ticks the (v. similar) boxes for free?

A recent interview with Bill G. raises the interesting question: what has G innovated outside of search? Not much, AFAIK. They’ve done a v. good job with Adsense, but not much else???

Scott Johnson 05 Nov 05

No. And besides, Google isn’t free now. We’re forced to look at ads if we want to use it.

Bob Aman 05 Nov 05

Depends. For search, probably not. As a bundle deal with all the services, oh, heck yes. But as others have mentioned, only in the absence of ads.

Fred Oliveira 05 Nov 05


Sven Koerbitz 05 Nov 05

no way. Yahoo, A9 and others are very close, maybe even better.

Adam M 05 Nov 05

Yes. I would pay $50/month for it, with or without ads. I can’t imagine running my business without it or putting the internet to personal use with any other search engine. I don’t think I’ve gotten EVER gotten a relevant result with a Yahoo or MSN search.

Gaston 05 Nov 05

No. I’d end up using something else and talking for the rest of my life of how great Google was.

Alex Bunardzic 05 Nov 05

If I’m not mistaken, Yahoo is poised to compete with gmail soon (some say Yahoo’s mail service will kick gmail’s ass!) If that’s true, than I don’t see any reason to pay for google.

Otherwise I do — gmail rocks!

Garrett 05 Nov 05

Me. Now. Yes.
Me. Next Year. ??

Also, depending on how easy it is to pay and how they sell it, I suspect many of the nay sayer peeps will as well, even if they think now that they wont. It’s like crack, just take it away for a day or two.

J.Y. 05 Nov 05


Dave Rosen 05 Nov 05

Yes I would. I also think it would be a good thing for the web app industry if Google did try to turn on the money tap for searching services. It would be good to get general web users more familiar with the concept of paying for quality online services.

Brian B 05 Nov 05


Josh 05 Nov 05

Yes, yes, and yes. It’s worth it.

Collin Allen 05 Nov 05

I’d pay as much as $10 a month. It’s so ridiculously handy… I’m not sure I could make it through a day without it anymore.

Nov 06 Nov 05

I’d paid “my time” to Google. (and to any search engine…) I see many ads (clicking few), I send many keywards, so I won’t pay no money.

Jacqui McGirr 06 Nov 05

Yes and no, and oh no! Love Google’s extended services (gmail, reader, google library - libroogle?), but would hate to see the search engine locked behind a subscription payment.

But, if it happened, I’d probably tryout Cap’n Jack’s new service, Smoogle. Though I suggest, instead, the name Freegle. And the other services … Freemail, Freeder, Free-earth.

Jeffrey 06 Nov 05

No, I wouldn’t.

I think their services are worth the $5 and even more, but for all I love their services and potential, I can get similar services for free from a host of other sources. And while $5 is completely irrelevant to me financially, the hassle of paying them is not.

As an aside, I often click on Google ads to throw some money their way!

David 06 Nov 05

No, it’s not like they need the cash now is it.

Maybe pay for content services though, such as Film/TV/Music that they’re building on planet Google.

xjp 06 Nov 05

No!!! I will use Yahoo, then.

Gwilym 06 Nov 05

You bet I would!!

Ismo 06 Nov 05


Yo 06 Nov 05


Processblack 06 Nov 05

No, i will use Yahoo!

Neil Ford 06 Nov 05

Excellent as it is. no.

Not after having used it for nothing for years.

Jan 06 Nov 05

No, all those little subscriptions add up at the end of the month. The advertisements on googles site just doesn’t bother me, and are actually useful.

Design Guru 06 Nov 05

Nope, I sure wouldn’t but I know about 100 people who definately would. Its funny, I remember signing up for hotmail back in, was it, 1996 (yes, before it went microsoft )!? At the time, I was fully willing to pay for webmail, just for the fact that I wouldn’t be subject to poor POP service whilst living in Kenya.

Since then, gmails come on the scene and stands testament, I think, to the need people have for a safe place to store information that is accessible anywhere in the world etc. Of course, its a breeze to use and offers a ton of space - making it the true modern hotmail… unless you have a chunky IMAP server or sth…

Also, people are generally very fond of google’s value for innovation and would almost feel like they’re ‘supporting a good cause’ by paying 5 bucks methinks.

* Jason - if this is market research for a new 37signals email service.. I say go for it :)


e 06 Nov 05

Definitely YES

Javier 06 Nov 05


Abid 06 Nov 05

Yes, because Google isn’t evil.

Robb Irrgang 06 Nov 05

With great power comes great responsibility - So at this point I’m wondering if the post made by Jason wouldn’t have benefited from some clarification. Is this market research? Is this a question that’ll lead into a longer ‘thought’ on the search engine market, monthly-fee web apps or whatnot? At this point, I feel like it’s a free market research tool for 37S and I can’t say I like it.

Meanwhile - Would you pay for a copy of the Yellow Pages? Since that’s what the majority of people probably use Google for. Finding companies. I’ve never seen numbers for this, but I’d say that that’s Google’s primary use. With that in mind — no, I wouldn’t pay.

Anonymous Coward 06 Nov 05

As long as there are free alternatives, definitively no.

Éric NIAKISSA 06 Nov 05

No but I would like be paid to use other search engines ;-)

ERwin Morales 06 Nov 05

NO! Definitely no

Jay 06 Nov 05

I don’t have quite enough brand loyalty to cover the jump from free to $5/month when there are free alternatives available.

م/ كمال الغامدي 06 Nov 05


Arun 06 Nov 05

Oh no.

Ken Rossi 06 Nov 05

Why must you make me think that nothing in the world will be left free?

Jens Meiert 06 Nov 05


andrew 06 Nov 05

Maybe. Probably yes. If it included gmail and the rest, and if Google wasn’t so Windows-centric.

exo 06 Nov 05

hell no.

am i the only one that thinks google is greatly overrated? there is still much to be had in terms of functionality.

Justin Gardner 06 Nov 05

No way I’d do that.

Google may have the mindshare, but most of the other search engines are just as accurate if not more so. I’d switch to Yahoo! quicker than you could say paper tiger.

Tom 06 Nov 05


Garry Dolley 06 Nov 05

My vote is no. There are other good search engines out there: Yahoo, AllTheWeb, etc…

When I can’t find something on Google, I try AllTheWeb, and most of the times it is better.

Sunil Mishra 06 Nov 05

I too think NO.

Wudnt that limit the number of users of Google depending upon the payment mode…

Mike Rundle 06 Nov 05

$5 a month? Shit I could lose $5 a month in the cracks of my couch and not realize it, of course I would pony up that dough for Google.

MarcosBL 06 Nov 05

I’ll do.
You can bet your underwear.

Harry Forbes 06 Nov 05

Seriously, just try using the Net without Google for a couple of days.

I hate to say it, but five bucks would be a bargain.

Raj Singh 06 Nov 05

And your point is …

TreoToday.net 06 Nov 05

Absolutely. I’d also pay for it if it was sold by, say, my cellular phone provider or my ISP.

Anonymous Coward 06 Nov 05

If Yahoo and everyone else started charging, yeah, I’d pick Google over them.

Startups.in 06 Nov 05

Unless I want to be called a loser and pay for something that can be found for free on the Net. Internet and services built upon it are meant to be free and I definitely would rather not pay Google.


Shane 06 Nov 05

No. Not that Google’s services aren’t worth $5.00 per month, I think they probably are. But I would make due with something else that was free instead of paying the $5.00 per month. Some people are saying that if they removed the ads then they definitely would pay, but I don’t mind the ads. Occasionaly I actually click on one of them!

Ebrahim E 07 Nov 05

Certainly NO.

These engines crawl the public web without asking permission, and cache and reproduce the content without asking permission, and then use this information as a carrier for ads that generate private profit.

They’d better be dumped if they charge anything for use.

Btw, whose political thought is this? ;)

Ebrahim E 07 Nov 05

Certainly NO.

These engines crawl the public web without asking permission, and cache and reproduce the content without asking permission, and then use this information as a carrier for ads that generate private profit.

They’d better be dumped if they charge anything for use.

Btw, whose political thought is this? ;)

JImmy zhang 07 Nov 05


Magnus 07 Nov 05

No. If it were not for free, Google services even though gr8 would lose thir competitive advantage, that entices e.one and builds the basic confidence to use it.

David 07 Nov 05

No, I’d use other good search engines.

bala 07 Nov 05

No, if yahoo and msn etc. are free!

Yes, if everything in the world costs money

Now, you know the answer why google will never charge for anything…..the moment they do all other will eat their lunch!!

Nick 07 Nov 05

Google would never do this because Google’s business model depends on the huge number of users. If you depend on huge (as in millions) of users, you can’t possibly charge them for it. You need them more than they need you.

Dimitar Vesselinov 07 Nov 05

No. I don’t live in the USA. I don’t have a credit card.

Blimble 07 Nov 05

Heck no.

Jakman 07 Nov 05

Sure I’d pay them $5 a month. But for that I’d want a kickback from the money they make mining the data I’m providing them with.

Nicola Mattina 07 Nov 05

Yes, I would pay also 10$ a month but I don’t want to see any advertisment and I want maps for Italy (not just satellite shots).

Darrel 07 Nov 05

Depends on what the competition is looking like at the time.

Jon B 07 Nov 05

For gmail, search, maps, images & froogle - definitely yes.

Robert Brook 07 Nov 05

If they port everything to Mac, and I don’t have to see any ads… okay then.

Marco 07 Nov 05


richard 07 Nov 05

Most definitely not. Google has entirely too many people coming to it for all of its services for me to have pay them to use them. With that many eyeballs, if you can’t figure out how to create a viable revenue stream, you deserve to not exist, and I would hope that someone would put them out of my misery, in that case.

Rob Lewis 07 Nov 05

Yep, definitely if it included all the services other than just search.

Andros 07 Nov 05


Chuck Reynolds 07 Nov 05

simply stated; no.

James 07 Nov 05

Harry Forbes said…
“Seriously, just try using the Net without Google for a couple of days.”

I don’t use Google at all. Period. And in no way am I or my business hurting for it. You’d have a hard time making the case that it’s worth a dime to me, in any shape or form.

Cristóferson Bueno 07 Nov 05


Kevin Williams 07 Nov 05

No - Too many competitors giving away competitive solutions for free. I would use products I like less if I don’t have to pay for them.

I don’t think that $5/month is much different then $20/month. I don’t think that $.01/month is much different either. Having to pay something is a barrier. Moreso when you’re used to getting it for free.

Jay Reding 07 Nov 05

Nope. I’d start using Yahoo, or (heaven forbid) MSN. Google’s model works because I can live with ads, and they make their money as an advertising company. I don’t tend to use subscription services unless they offer something I simply can’t get anywhere else. I have enough monthly bills that adding another $5/month doesn’t appeal to me at all.

Geoff B 07 Nov 05

If google charged $5/month, then google would be obscure, and you’d be asking if people would pay $5/mo for foogle.

Maria 07 Nov 05

No. There are more finders.
Sorry for my bad english.

Ian Waring 07 Nov 05

Sure. Without a shadow of a doubt. And i’d pay for Google Desktop Search too, which saves me countless hours every week.

acidbox 07 Nov 05

no, yahoo is better anyway.

ben 07 Nov 05

Nah. I use a9 (except google powrs a9, so i don’t know how that would work). Yahoo would be fine too.

James 07 Nov 05

Ian - why would you pay a subscription for Google Desktop Search, which could easily add up to hundreds of dollars over time, when you could spend once on a far superior product - like X1 or similar?

scott brooks 07 Nov 05

Of course i would. It makes my life a very minumum $5 better a month.

I spend more then that on stuff that brings less value to me.

It saves time and makes me more productive!



dmr 07 Nov 05

$5 a month is nothing for such a productive tool; it’s just money folks.

Michael Wrobiski 07 Nov 05

No, i would use another search engine.

James 07 Nov 05

@dmr - for many people (like myself), it certainly isn’t the $5 price point that turns me off. I wouldn’t pay 5 cents a month for it, because I don’t use it. On top of that, there’s no really convincing argument that what they’re doing is any better than any of the other major players, and they’re all offering it for free.

If Google is somehow far superior - in a way that actually holds meaning in an average user’s search experience - I’m sure some one of the bright minds around here will enlighten me.

Shawn Oster 07 Nov 05


Richard Bird 07 Nov 05

If it meant access to all of Google or not, then YES. I would pay the 5 bucks.

Rabbit 07 Nov 05

No. Eff Google.

NickD 07 Nov 05

Yes, I would, assuming this would include everything else that comes out by Google is going to be free also. It better include a cool API/badge that I can put on my blog to show my status as an elite, paying Google user who has access to information that others do not have access to. That would rock!!!

Is Jason the next Larry/Sergey?

NickD 07 Nov 05

When I say “free” above, I mean at no additional cost after I have paid my $5 a month/$60 a year.

Jason Berry 07 Nov 05

Hell no.

As if they aren’t making enough anyway.

If yahoo, msn and google all started charging i’d write my own and become the new google.

Mike P. 08 Nov 05

Nope. Better search is out there, mail I have elsewhere, and maps, well, they are strictly UK and NA!

Billy 08 Nov 05

hell no, the greedy bastards must’ve forgot about the word “competition”!

RH 08 Nov 05


D.Sh. 08 Nov 05


UK 08 Nov 05

NO, never.

Ryan H. 08 Nov 05

I would not pay it, and of course do not expect it to happen either. The Idea of paying for internet access and then pay for the ability to search is absurb unless you are with a certain over-rated ISP that I am not going to mention:)

spaceweasel 08 Nov 05


Ward 08 Nov 05

Heeealll NO.

Johnl 08 Nov 05

hecca hecca NO!

Dane Carlson 08 Nov 05

Yes, most definitely.

Dan 08 Nov 05

Sorry, but no. I have a very tight budget and can’t afford an extra $5 per month as little as it is. I don’t buy CD’s I don’t buy magazines. I maintain high-speed internet as it’s virtually a necessity to me when I need to download something, but I’ve reverted to the lowest level of cable TV - one step above connecting a TV antenna. If I start spending $5 for one online service, it’s going to be another $5 somewhere else and then $7 elsewhere and so on. I’m not going down that road. I can’t afford it.

amorson 09 Nov 05

Depends on the alternatives. With Yahoo getting better by the day, I don’t know if paying would be worth it. If there were no capable alternatives than yes.

Josep 09 Nov 05

Yes if includes everything

Paul Watson 09 Nov 05

No - I would use one of Google’s (free) competitors instead - probably Yahoo.

Sean Hayford O'Leary 09 Nov 05

If Gmail also were no longer free, and were included in that $5/month package, certainly.

I’ve never had good luck with Google’s competitors… MSN Search is the only thing that seems to work, but Google works more often.

3stripe 09 Nov 05

If a tree falls in a forest and there is no one there to hear it fall, does it make a noise?


Philip Luedtke 09 Nov 05


Taylor McKnight 09 Nov 05

How much does Google make off of each (dedicated) user currently? (through their viewing of ads).

I wonder if it’s way more than $5.

Jeff 09 Nov 05

I agree with the notion that if only google is charging, then no. If Yahoo is free still, I will use it.

If all search engines begin to charge then I suppose I would conform, (but might try and split the fee with about 12 other people to reduce my rate to 5 bucks a year).

mark 09 Nov 05

not a chance. if all the search engines did it though. we would be in a terrible situation

CR 09 Nov 05

No. The service started out as a free service and I’d hate to see it go the ways of all other incredibly capitalist companies in the country that started out either free or cheap.
If the people at Google tried to go pay, it would be the end of the world as we know it.

no 11 Nov 05


Peter J 11 Nov 05


丹子 11 Nov 05

a trouble impossible

Tolly Lee Won 11 Nov 05

I do not recognise human currencies. Or units of time.

Jini 11 Nov 05

YES - without a doubt! Can’t imagine life without google!

Kevin 11 Nov 05

Not a chance! There are plenty of search engines out there that are free, so I’m certainly not going to use the one I have to pay for. As for the rest of the services… well, I don’t even know what other services Google offers.

mbg 11 Nov 05


hehe 11 Nov 05

you can’t introduce a service as FREE and get people used to it being FREE only to make it a pay service later.. that would be a fine example of moronic behavior.

Jenna 11 Nov 05


Indiblog 12 Nov 05

definitely NOT

William Gates 12 Nov 05

yes, i use it everyday.

Deepak 12 Nov 05

Tough question. Do I get $5 worth of value from it. Yes. Would I pay? Gosh, given the alternatives the logical answer would be no, but I have a feeling that I am so addicted to google and its products, that I just would anyway.

madhu venkatesan 12 Nov 05

maybe in that case i would seriously think of using something else.. yahoo doesnt seem to be a bad choice in that case

azizbek 13 Nov 05

But think about people who’s salary is under 100$ a month , like in countries of 3rd world… will they pay for google ??? ;)

dutchtreat 13 Nov 05


Joe 13 Nov 05

Probably not.

Adam 14 Nov 05

You know what’s particularly fascinating, IMHO? This has elicited the most comments of any 37 Signals blog entry I can remember :)

Jason 14 Nov 05

Without a doubt. $5 a month for all the services I get from google currently would almost be underpriced… Free is a steal!

Jason 14 Nov 05

Without a doubt. $5 a month for all the services I get from google currently would almost be underpriced… Free is a steal! Heck, in no small part, I owe my job to google, since I’ve pretty much taught myself all I know about programming from resources I’ve found with google.

www.galiciaenpie.com 15 Nov 05


cristian 16 Nov 05

no porque no tengo 5 dolares por mes para pagarlo ,pero es un exelente servicio.

creatyan 16 Nov 05

5$ …
maybe in USA, maybe in Germany, maybe in France and UK …
Not in Poland, Ukraine, Russia etc.

litlwon 16 Nov 05

no. not for anything it offers, although great. i would just find another free place. i must tell you though i am a girl who is cheap. and i need everything to be free!!

Spring Dew 17 Nov 05

Absolutely. Some day I’m going to take a tally of how many times I consult Google on any given day. I’m sure it’s easily 50.

No other engine has ever been completely satisfying.

rohit 17 Nov 05


Rhoda 17 Nov 05

Absolutely not. That’s what those annoying ads are for.