For those who are very small users of G-Suite who signed up for a “free” platform before 2012 – there’s some very bad news coming, with Google planning to discontinue the product.
Of course, at the time of writing, no Google Workspace administrator has been informed of this, rather it’s slipped out via a support document.
The free G-Suite allowed for free “Google Suite” tenancies to be created for very small businesses or families, add a vanity domain name on and route everything through it, so your “users” had access to Google tools such as Mail, Docs, Sheets, etc. This has evolved, with the product rolled into Google Workspace.
This version will be unsupported from the 1st of May 2022. Two options will exist:
- Migrate to paid Google Workspace
- Migrate Out of the Google Ecosystem
Google will begin automatically upgrading legacy accounts to Workspace come May but won’t activate those accounts without the submission of payment information.
Those who fail to supply payment information for Workplace before July 1, 2022, will find their accounts suspended.
According to the company that abandoned the term “Do No Evil” many years ago:
If you have the G Suite legacy free edition, you need to upgrade to a paid Google Workspace subscription to keep your services. The G Suite legacy free edition will no longer be available starting May 1, 2022. Starting May 1, Google will seamlessly transition you to Google Workspace, which you can use at no cost until July 1, 2022.
We recommend you upgrade now to a Google Workspace subscription that meets your needs. Upgrading does not affect your data or service availability. Learn how to Upgrade from the G Suite legacy free edition.
If your needs have changed and you don’t want to upgrade to a Google Workspace subscription, you can use the Data Export tool to export your organization’s data.
Google Workspace, starts at US$6/£4.14 at the entry-level and scales upward. This is will apply even if you have a Chromebook.
The move does not impact those who want are using the free Gmail accounts under Gmail or GoogleMail domains.
Economy Class and Beyond reached out to Google PR in regards to the following:
- Provide a statement on why free service is ending.
- Provide a timeline to your users when the Administrators will have communication this will end
- Provide a statement or tool to export content purchases made on these G-Suite user accounts so they can be added to other Google accounts as needed
Start planning now
If you’re happy to pay up for Google Workspace, there’s is not a lot you need to do, other than ensure your payment tools are up to date, and you authorise Google to take your money – bearing in mind a sub for one user for a year is $72.
If you’re planning to leave to Google Eco-System, you need to plan – now – be it a move off to Microsoft Office 365, or onto other solutions and separating email hosting, followed by apps as needed.
Here are some articles (with their forums) on how their readers are affected:
- ArsTechnica: https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2022/01/google-tells-free-g-suite-users-pay-up-or-lose-your-account/
- The Register: https://www.theregister.com/2022/01/20/google_sours_on_g_suite/
- The Verge and comments: https://www.theverge.com/2022/1/19/22891509/g-suite-legacy-free-google-apps-workspace-upgrade
There are also lots of solutions in there too – some that I will be evaluating.
And yes, I’m impacted
It should be obvious by now that I’m more than impacted by this move by Google, which is forcing the same questions on me:
- Do I choose to migrate the platform?
- Do I downgrade to the consumer edition?
- Do I rationalise the accounts that are used (it’s good to split out some of the emails that come into the Economy Class and Beyond inboxes into different categories so I know where my priority mail sits)?
- Do I bend over, smile and take it?
Currently, I’m looking at a bill of $144 a year to maintain these services, with a Chromebook running off them. The trouble is – I’m not sure if Google is providing $144 of value right now.
Considering Office365 with Apps is only slightly more expensive at £7.90+VAT a month if I choose an enterprise edition (and some of the stuff I do requires those sorts of tools), it might be time to exit the Google Platform for business. Or £79.99 a year for five users on the home edition.
What seemed to be a rounding error has been seen as an opportunity to monetise the Google platform further.
And it has left a rather sour taste in my mouth – to put it mildly.
It’s also a reminder of “they who lives by the cloud, dies by the cloud”.
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