google workspace

Google requiring all ‘G Suite legacy free edition’ users to start paying for Workspace this year

In 2020, G Suite became Google Workspace as part of a mass reorganization of the company’s apps for the “future of work.” Various plans were migrated over, and Google is now finally getting rid of the G Suite legacy free edition.

“Google Apps” for businesses and schools were introduced 16 years ago and was discontinued in 2012. However, the company made no significant changes to those free accounts in the past decade, until today.

In an email to administrators this morning, Google said it “will now transition all remaining users to an upgraded Google Workspace paid subscription based on your usage.” As such, Workspace’s only free plans are for Nonprofits and Education (Fundamentals).

After getting free Gmail, Drive, Docs, and other apps for the past several years, companies/people will need to start paying for those Google services and the ability to use your own custom domain (instead of just gmail.com).

They have until May 1 to select a new plan (of which there are several tiers), or Google will do it for them “based on what [they] currently use with [their] G Suite legacy free edition.” However, billing won’t start for at least two months if you were automatically upgraded.

Upgrading from your G Suite legacy free edition to Google Workspace will only take you a few short steps and is not disruptive to your end-users. To support you in this transition, you will have discount options for 12 months after July 1, 2022.

Plans start at $6 /user/month with Business Starter and go up to $18 /user/month. (Very small businesses with just one existing Gmail can also upgrade to Workspace Individual for $9.99/month, but will not get a custom email address.) Google will suspend your automatic Workspace subscription/accounts if you do not enter billing details before July 1, 2022.

After 60 days in suspension, you will no longer have access to Google Workspace core services, such as Gmail, Calendar, and Meet. You may still retain access to additional Google services, such as YouTube and Google Photos. Enter a valid form of payment to restore your suspended account

Google is offering a discount for 12 months or the ability to export your organization’s data, while more details are available in this FAQ support article.

9to5Google’s Take

This was a long time coming, and it’s unclear how many people were still using “Google Apps.” While there will be more than a few businesses caught in this transition, I wouldn’t be surprised if there were many more individual, non-enterprise users impacted.

The paid aspect of this upgrade will certainly be contentious, but it comes as Google over the past two years has been hard at work streamlining its offerings for businesses. Integrated Gmail is the prime example, while there’s also the classic Hangouts to Google Chat transition. The company likely sees the end of G Suite legacy free edition as helping fund that ongoing and future work.

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