Almost five months after Google announced that it was going to make G Suite legacy free edition users start paying for their accounts, it seems to finally have a path in place that most people will be happy with. According to 9to5Google, there’s now a no-cost option that’ll let people keep using their G Suite accounts for personal use, and signing up for it won’t involve a song and dance of joining a waitlist or transferring data between accounts.
In January, Google announced that free G Suite users would have to start paying for Google Workspace if they wanted to keep their accounts, after around a decade of keeping the legacy free tier around. The company said that if users didn’t decide which paid Workspace tier they wanted by May 1st, they’d be automatically upgraded based on their use. Later, Google said you’d have the option of transferring to a free account, but that you’d lose some features doing so. Now though, there’s going to be an option to just keep using the service that’s open to people who aren’t using it for business purposes, according to a Google support document.
The no-cost personal use option will let you keep using a custom domain with Gmail, use free Google apps like YouTube, Docs, and Meet, and keep all your data and purchases. Basically, everything’s going to stay the same, as long as you choose the no-cost personal transition path by June 27th. You can find the instructions on how to do so in the Google support document, and Reddit user u/AB3DC has posted screenshots (one of which you can see above) in the GSuiteLegacyMigration subreddit showing what the process will look like. Google does note that “G Suite legacy free edition does not include support,” and that it may “remove certain business functionality” from the plan in the future.
Personally, this “transition path,” as Google calls it, seems like what should’ve been announced in the first place. A lot of people weren’t terribly happy about the previous version of the plan, especially those who weren’t part of a company, and had just been using G Suite free because it was a good option for power users at the time. For a while, it seemed like Google was going to make them pay for business features they absolutely didn’t need.
It didn’t help that, originally, people’s options were either to start paying up or export their data and set up a new standard account. In April Google moved the deadline back, and announced that there would be a tool to let you transfer to a free account, but you had to join a waitlist for that, and you would’ve lost access to the ability to use a custom domain. To put it simply, it was still going to be kind of a pain in the ass (as evidenced by the fact that there’s an entire subreddit dedicated to discussing the transition). Now, it seems like Google has got it sorted: if you’re a business, you’ll pay. If you’re not, you don’t have to.