Google Sours G Suite Free Riders, Demands Fee or Escape • The Register

Google has served eviction notices to its old G Suite squatters: the free service will be gone in four months, and existing users can either pay for a Google Workspace subscription or export their data and take their not-so-valuable deals elsewhere.

“If you have the free legacy edition of G Suite, you must upgrade to a paid Google Workspace subscription to keep your services,” the company said in a recently revised version support document. “The old free version of G Suite will no longer be available as of May 1, 2022.”

The old free version of G Suite will no longer be available as of May 1, 2022

Workspace subscriptions start at $6 per month for the easiest membership.

Google will begin automatically upgrading legacy accounts to Workspace in May, but will not activate these accounts without providing payment information. Those who fail to provide Workplace payment information before July 1, 2022 will have their accounts suspended.

Suspended accounts can be revived with subscription fee, an arrangement that may sound like a ransomware operation, but in reality it just works as usual. G Suite refugees can avoid this scenario by exporting their data with Google Data export tool.

“Today we informed customers who are using a legacy free subscription for our communication and collaboration apps, including Gmail, Google Drive and Google Docs, that they must switch to a Google Workspace plan by July 1, 2022” , a Google spokesman said in an email The registry. “The old free subscription was available from 2006 to 2012 and offered a basic set of business features and integration with a custom domain.”

“We are now asking these customers to move to Google Workspace, which offers solutions tailored to the unique needs of our broad range of customers, along with increased storage and security, 24/7 support, and more. We offer comprehensive solutions at discounts to ease the transition and are pleased that our customers have more choice and flexibility in how they work together.”

Google’s support documents do not explain whether data can be exported after an account has been suspended and how long the company keeps data in suspended accounts. The Google spokesman had an immediate answer to questions.

Gmail is now part of the workspace, so anyone using a version of Gmail linked to Workspace will lose access without a paid subscription.

“Failing to provide your billing information will suspend your Google Workspace subscription until you set up billing,” another Google support document explained. “After 60 days of suspension, you will no longer have access to core Google Workspace services such as Gmail, Calendar and Meet.”

Those using the free version of Gmail associated with a Google account should not be affected by this change, nor should YouTube or Google Photos users. And there’s a free version of Google Drive (15GB free storage) that exists outside of Workspace.

To be clear, these changes affect the old free version of G Suite, which was aimed at small groups like organizations or families who wanted to manage their Google accounts together under one roof and typically shared a custom domain name for their email . These people have to start paying now. People with free personal Google accounts can still use Gmail, Google Docs, Calendar, etc. for free.

However, it is unclear how long these services will continue to be offered free of charge. As of last June, the Chocolate Factory stopped offering unlimited free storage for photos saved in “high quality” to drive customers to their Google One subscription.

The free version of G Suite hasn’t been publicly available since December 2012, when the service was still known as Google Apps. At this point, Google no longer allowed new customer signups for the free version of Google Apps and only offered by Google Apps for Business ($50/year).

Google’s subscription-based office suite became G Suite 2016 and was Workspace renamed in October 2020. During this identity crisis, anyone who had signed up for what was long ago dubbed Google Apps Standard Edition was still able to access the free service. But in a few months, that free legacy version of G Suite will be gone.

Perhaps unaware of these upcoming changes, Google’s Chief Legal Officer Kent Walker released on Tuesday a blog post argue that a recently changed tech bill “could prevent us from providing useful free services to consumers and businesses” and “appears to penalize free services in favor of services consumers have to pay for, as it appears to exempt “fees for subscription services” (like Microsoft’s subscription-based software). ” .” ®

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