After weeks of going dark on the matter, Google has relented and added an option for non-commercial users to continue using their G Suite Legacy free editions for personal use. For those of you not in the know, Google used to offer a free version of its Google Workspace, then called G Suite, for users and businesses with fewer than 50 accounts. Many techies hopped on board to claim their “personal” custom domain emails and services for family and friends.
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If you haven’t been following this saga, it started a few months back when Google announced it would no longer be offering a free option of its Google Workspace tools. As you can imagine, those who have been using the company’s legacy G Suite for personal use (like myself) pretty much since its inception, were outraged that Google was basically holding their data “hostage.” Google quickly backpedalled a week later and indicated that those who didn’t wish to upgrade would be given an option to transfer their accounts to a free (presumably) Gmail account. A survey went out to those affected, but since then Google has been oddly quiet on the matter. In fact, a few weeks ago, the portion of text on its support site indicating such an option would be available also disappeared.
Fast forward to today, and Google has relented. The support page has been updated and there is now an option for non-commercial users to continue to use the G Suite legacy free edition.
“If you’re using the G Suite legacy free edition for non-commercial purposes, you can opt out of the transition to Google Workspace by clicking here (requires a super administrator account) or going to the Google Admin console. You can continue using your custom domain with Gmail, retain access to no-cost Google services such as Google Drive and Google Meet, and keep your purchases and data.
“If you don’t take any action, your account will be suspended starting on August 1, 2022. To reactivate your account, you will either need to upgrade to Google Workspace or opt out of the transition for non-commercial use.
“G Suite legacy free edition is only intended for personal non-commercial use. If you’re using G Suite legacy free edition for business purposes, we will transition your account to Google Workspace. G Suite legacy free edition does not include support, and in the future we may remove certain business functionality.
“If you transitioned to Google Workspace after January 19, 2022 and used G Suite legacy free edition for personal use, you can contact Support.”Google support page
It’s a simple process, and I was able to complete the process in a matter of minutes. I simply clicked on the “here” link from the support page (also linked above) and was taken to my custom domains admin panel. A pop-up appeared asking me to choose my transition path. Choosing the personal use option at the bottom brought up another screen, making me confirm that I was using it for personal use and warn that Google may remove business functionality from the services. It did also confirm that I could continue using my custom domain with Gmail, and retain access to no-cost Google services like Meet, Drive, Search, Maps, and YouTube. Most importantly, purchases and data made to date would be retained as well. Once confirmed, Google kindly thanked me for choosing the Free Legacy Edition of G Suite for personal use.
Once you’ve upgraded, your Google admin panel should show you a notification tile that indicates you are using a legacy edition of G Suite.
If you’re one of the many affected, you have until June 27, 2022, to transition to the free Legacy G Suite for personal use. If you already upgraded to Google Workspace after January 19, 2022, when the company first announced the changes, you can contact Google Support, presumably to transition to the no-cost Legacy G-Suite.
Even though Google did right in the end, the entire process did leave a bad taste in my mouth, and presumably the mouths of others. Obviously, there was enough pushback with Google’s decision to force users into a paid upgrade that they finally relented.
What do you think about Google backpedalling and allowing users to continue using G Suite legacy free edition? Were you one of those who were going to be affected by the forced upgrade to paid Google Workspace accounts? Let us know on social media by using the buttons below.