Google Workspace (G-Suite) Free-Tier users forced to migrate or pay up
Google is pulling the plug on its G Suite legacy free edition that dates to 2006. It announced the free offering no longer will be available starting July 1, and current users must upgrade to a paid subscription for the newer Google Workspace by May 1 to maintain their accounts and services.
Google is requiring users to upgrade to paid Google Workspace subscriptions. This change will be effective starting July 1 2022, and current users must upgrade to a paid subscription for the newer Google Workspace by May 1 2022 to maintain their accounts and services. Formerly known as Google Apps, G Suite was rebranded as Google Workspace with an expanded set of cloud-based collaboration and productivity tools in October 2020.
If you do not enter billing details before July 1, 2022, your automatic Workspace subscription/accounts will be suspended.
You will lose access to Google Workspace core features such as Gmail, Calendar, and Meet after 60 days if your account is not reactivated. You may still use additional Google services like YouTube and Google Photos. To reactivate your suspended account, provide a valid payment method.
What is Google Workspace?
Google Workspace includes Gmail and Google Calendar, Meet, Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Forms. These tools provide a range of features to help users collaborate and be more productive. For example:
- Gmail includes powerful search features and filters that can help users quickly find the email they need.
- Google Calendar can be used to create and share event calendars with others, and to see availability for meeting times.
- Meet allows users to hold online meetings with up to 50 participants, and provides tools for screen sharing and recording meetings.
- Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Forms allow users to create and share documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and forms with others. These tools include a variety of built-in templates that can help users.
But why Google? Why????
Google is removing the free tier for its G Suite legacy offering because it wants users to upgrade to its newer Google Workspace subscription. The paid subscription offers a range of features that can help users be more productive, such as powerful search features and filters in Gmail, the ability to create and share event calendars with others in Google Calendar, and online meeting capabilities with up to 50 participants in Meet.
If you are a current user of the G Suite legacy free edition, you will be forced to upgrade to a paid subscription for the newer Google Workspace by May 1 2022 to maintain your account and services.
As for why? Well, it simply appears to be a cash grab. Certainly a sad state of affairs.
Alternatives to Google Workspace
There are a number of alternatives to Google Workspace that users can consider. For example, Microsoft Office 365 offers a range of features for users, including email, calendar, and online meeting capabilities. In addition, Microsoft Office 365 includes tools for creating and sharing documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and forms.
Those customers that have been considering a switch to Microsoft 365 but didn’t see the need thanks to the free licenses can now make the move to Microsoft 365.
Can’t I just move to the Consumer version of Google Workspace?
This isn’t clear. Google appears to have received some backlash in this recent announcement and as of the 27th January, have started surveying their Free-Tier customers. The expectation here is they are looking at the viability of setting up a migration path to the consumer version of Google Workspace.
The problem with this is you can no longer use a custom domain. So your emails will come from an @gmail.com address instead of your @yourcompanyname.com. You’ll be able to keep your data and purchases which is a positive, but how can you continue to trade without your domain name used in your email? Not a great solution for businesses.
Should I stay with Google Workspace?
The two services are quite similar in many ways, with both offering email, calendar, and online meeting capabilities. However, the differences between them should be considered before deciding on whether you should switch.
Microsoft Office 365 includes Outlook (email), OneDrive (cloud storage), Teams (video calls and chat), SharePoint Online or OneDrive for Business (collaboration tools) among others. With more features than Google Workspace available at no extra cost with an Office 365 subscription, it can make sense for some businesses.
However, there’s always a cost involved in switching productivity suites. The change cost may affect the productivity of your staff and business in the short term while the new suite is implemented, tested and familiarised by your staff.
You should discuss what works best with your IT provider and work out a plan.
This was long-overdue, and it’s hard to say how many people were still using “Google Apps.” While there will be a lot of organisations caught in this shift, I wouldn’t be surprised if there were numerous more personal, non-enterprise users affected as well.
If you are affected, there are a number of alternatives to Google Workplace that users can consider. Microsoft Office 365 offers a range of features for 365. Good luck with your choice!
About the author
Yener is the founder and Managing Director of Intuitive IT. Prior to running his own business Yener worked for a number of corporate organisations where he gained invaluable experience and skills, as well as an understanding of how IT can complement and improve business outcomes.