Google Inc. has long made a number of its products available to churches and other non-profits at discounted rates and even free. However, back in March, they revamped their Google Apps package along with the non-profit requirements.
The new non-profit qualifying guidelines state that they will exclude a number of previously qualifying non-profits including schools, political think-tanks, churches, proselytizing groups and any organization that considers religion or sexual orientation in hiring decision. When you think about it, this new policy excludes virtually all non-profits since they either have a religious affiliation or political motives or do proselytize one thing or another.
A number of churches, large and small have been or were planning to use some of the Google Apps programs and free email only to find that they will have to pay $50 per user per year. In today’s economy, many churches, especially smaller ones can ill afford additional annual expenses.
Google justifies their actions by pointing out that a number of other companies have similar policies and restrictions. A professor at Notre Dame Law School explained Google’s actions in that they are: “trying to avoid anything that would reflect negatively on them by avoiding potentially polarizing causes that might alienate customers.”
You mean eliminating discounts to schools and churches is not going to polarize a common cause or alienate customers? An attorney from Colorado Springs said that Google’s actions are usually considered to be legal, but ill-advised.
I’ll let you decide for yourself how you want to react to Google’s new policies.