Nearly five months after Google announced that G Suite legacy free edition users would start paying for their accounts, there finally seems to be a path that most people will be happy with. According to 9to5Googlethere’s now a no-cost option that allows people to continue using their G Suite accounts for personal use, and if you sign up for it, you don’t have to join a waiting list or transfer data between accounts.
In January, Google announced that free G Suite users would have to pay for Google Workspace if they wanted to keep their accounts. about a decade to keep the legacy-free layer around. The company said if users didn’t decide which paid Workspace tier they wanted by May 1, they would be automatically upgraded based on their usage. Later, Google said you’d have the option to switch to a free account, but you’d lose some features because of it. Now, however, there will be an option to just keep using the service which is open to people who don’t use it for business purposes, according to a Google support document†
With the free personal use option, you can continue to use a custom domain with Gmail, use free Google apps like YouTube, Docs, and Meet, and keep all your data and purchases. In short, everything remains the same, as long as you opt for the free personal transition path before 27 June. You will find the instructions to do this in the Google support documentand 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 support” and that it may remove “certain business functionality” from the plan in the future.
Personally, this “transitional path,” as Google calls it, seems like what should have been announced in the first place. Many people weren’t very happy with the previous version of the plan, especially those who weren’t part of a business and just used G Suite for free because it was a good option for power users at the time. For a while, it looked like Google would charge them for business features that they absolutely didn’t need.
It didn’t help that people originally had the choice to either start paying or export their data and create a new default account. In April Google pushed back the deadline, and announced that there would be a tool that would allow you to switch to a free account, but that would require you to be on a waiting list and would no longer have access to the ability to use a custom domain. To put it simply, it would still be a bit annoying (as evidenced by the fact that there an entire subreddit dedicated to discussing the transition). Now it looks like Google has it covered: if you’re a business, you pay. If you aren’t, you don’t have to.