Google ends the G Suite legacy free edition leaving users worried

Martin Brinkmann
Jan 20, 2022
Google
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G Suite legacy free edition was a free edition of Google's G Suite offering that customers could sign-up for prior to December 6, 2012. Google announced recently that it will end support for the G Suite legacy free edition and that customers will have to subscribe to a paid plan to continue using Google services.

g suite legacy free edition

G Suite legacy free edition had a limited set of business features, but it was free and users could sign-up for the service. Google stopped offering the service on December 6, 2012, but customers who signed up for it prior to that were allowed to use it after the deadline.

Nearly a decade later, Google is ending support for the G Suite legacy free edition. The decision affects all customers who signed-up for it, especially those who used it continuously.

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Google plans to migrate all G Suite legacy free edition customers to Google Workspace starting May 1, 2022. Users will then be able to use the service at no cost until July 1, 2022.

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.

Plans start at $6 for individual accounts, but since G Suite legacy free supported multiple users, some users may have to pay more to keep all their user accounts, e.g. for family members.

Customers who don't want to subscribe to Google Workspace should use the data export tool to export their data.

The problem

Some customers have used the service as their main driver on the Internet, meaning they used the associated email address to sign-up for websites and services, make purchases online and on Google Play, and for all communication purposes via email.

While it is possible to migrate some of that to another service, e.g. Google Drive to local storage or another provider, it is unclear at this point how Play Store apps purchases are handled, but it appears that there is no option to migrate those to another account.

Additionally, users who signed-up for dozens or hundreds of sites over the course of the decade may need to spend quite some time changing the logins to another email address.

Now You: are you affected by the discontinuation?

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Google ends the G Suite legacy free edition leaving users worried
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Google ends the G Suite legacy free edition leaving users worried
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Google announced recently that it will end support for the G Suite legacy free edition and that customers will have to subscribe to a paid plan to continue using Google services.
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Comments

  1. Chris said on January 20, 2022 at 9:05 am
    Reply

    I advise people not to rely on Google with either business or personal life.

    The Axe will come down on way or another eventually.

    1. Anonymous said on January 20, 2022 at 9:28 pm
      Reply

      Well, it’s not only Google that works this way.
      Don’t rely your business to free products.
      Pay for your business, that’s how the world works lol.
      I am actually surprised that Google waited 10 year for this.

      1. Anonymous said on January 21, 2022 at 6:56 pm
        Reply

        They burn their customers more often than others. Including by killing products and randomly blocking entire orgs because of random policy violations (for example in Playstore).

        Honestly I love Google’s products. But I moved to MS and others a while ago for anything business related.

      2. Google Malcontent said on January 27, 2022 at 8:27 pm
        Reply

        There’s always one here…
        Why not rely on a “free” product that has been harvesting your data for a decade?

        *That* was part of the deal… Google claimed and shouted from the tallest mountains that they would “Never” take this service away from those that agreed to the EULA all those years ago and I know because I am one such user.

        Our company is 3 people and we relied on this service with our domain for that period of time and was provided a lesser service, but we agreed to those terms. You are lumping all companies into one large basket of, “Don’t rely on your business to free products”. Maybe you assume all companies and their owners are “rich”, it’s a common comment.

        I guarantee that you do not own or run any business because getting as much for your hard earned dollar or striking a bargain with a provider is how it is really done. And that’s exactly what Google did with those users a long while ago.

        It’s always a one way street with them and others.

        Who are these others that you refer to? I don’t recall any “others” exclaiming that their service would be “free” for as long as the user wanted it and then eventually decide to change their minds. Not something like this…

        Sure they have that right, but it is flat out BS – pure rubbish.

        Just as a reference, the world works however these conglomerates want it to work and they are *never* held to their word… It’s called bait and switch – that simple.

        Last thought… why do you believe that it took Google waited 10 years to pull plug? Let me understand the logic? Google has moved from a billion dollar profit business to nearly a trillion dollar business over those 10 years… but that’s not enough – right.

        I am all about capitalism, but really? A trillion dollars and they can’t “afford” to continue free legacy accounts for SMB? Again, complete rubbish…

      3. Anonymous said on April 11, 2022 at 12:21 am
        Reply

        Excellent comment. Spot on.

      4. Tony Casella said on May 8, 2022 at 3:37 am
        Reply

        Thank you for putting my feelings into words! I feel betrayed and lied to by Google, and you phrased it accurately. Thank you

    2. Anonymous said on January 22, 2022 at 3:09 am
      Reply

      I couldn’t agree with this more. I used to have my domains with Google Domains and pay for extra storage. At some point they claimed that they needed to “verify my identify” and needed a copy of my ID, etc. Super fishy, but the result is that they did not process my payments. Then I couldn’t send emails, was on the verge of losing my domains.

      I’ve been a Google Workspace since inception and have a personal domain that has accounts for me and my kids. Now I will have to retrain my kids and reconfigure their devices a new google account and email with another provider (I guess Zoho?).

      Can’t rely on Google.

  2. Yuliya said on January 20, 2022 at 9:07 am
    Reply

    You get what you deserve for using fog services and other nonsense like saas, etc. Let this be a life lesson if you’re affected by it.

    1. Shiro said on January 20, 2022 at 10:31 am
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      Amen. Reader “Chris” above you rants against google, but all big tech companies are like that. Just make sure you get your software and services running locally and you actually own them, without DRM. If you’re too lazy to do that (it can be done free, so cost is not an issue!) then you get what you deserve.

      1. Clairvaux said on January 20, 2022 at 12:17 pm
        Reply

        How can you get a local service ? This is a contradiction in terms.

        And I don’t like the cookie-cutter, holier-than-thou “you get what you deserve”. You don’t.

        Users operate within a given market, and they can’t change the conditions. Especially when they are not knowledgeable enough to read Ghacks, which means the vast majority of the population.

    2. ULBoom said on January 20, 2022 at 2:07 pm
      Reply

      Fogware…I like it.

  3. Jörgen said on January 20, 2022 at 10:56 am
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    Sh*t
    I have around 10 domains each with their own ‘G Suite legacy free edition’ account and a couple of users per each.

    Looks like I have to find a way to either move everything to a new mail host or start using the free gmail.com service for each user and still somehow keep the “real” email address

    Buying the service isn’t an option.. it’s all personal and private stuff and there isn’t an option to pay for all of it

  4. allen said on January 20, 2022 at 12:16 pm
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    G Suite was a business-oriented offering. If some people used it for personal accounts, then I’d have to say that’s on them. “Mess with the bull…” as they say.

    1. KenLin said on January 20, 2022 at 2:08 pm
      Reply

      It wasn’t a business offering when we signed up, though. A lot of families signed up for the service because it was a neat way to have your own domain but still use gmail.

      Over the years, obviously we knew this day was going to come, it just sucks that it has. And that Google still doesn’t have way to migrate your account to a regular gmail account.

      1. Dave said on January 26, 2022 at 11:07 am
        Reply

        Very true indeed. I’ve used it for my family of 6 for the past 11 years. It’s handy when you have kids to have an admin to take care of things for them. I’d maybe consider paying if there was a family price option, but at £4.40 per month per user, I won’t be subscribing after the 1st year 50% off as that’s not sustainable for me. I’ve only upgraded to buy a little time to migrate and find an alternative solution for us. Hopefully, I’ll have that sorted before payment kicks in in July and I’ll cancel it all down.

        I can accept that the free version is finally ending, I knew it would someday. What I cannot accept is the lack of acceptance from Google that families use this and therefore the lack of a price point for them. What irks me even more is the complete lack of a migration path/tool from a GSuite account to a free GMail account (emails, calendar, photos, drive etc). Downloading the data is not a full migration option as, for example, Google Photos albums can’t be migrated – just the photos themselves.

    2. NoSpam said on February 10, 2022 at 6:20 pm
      Reply

      Not entirely true that it was a business offering at first. At the time I signed up a family domain, google website stated:

      Learn how Google Apps can benefit your Family or Group

      Google innovation. Powerful solutions. No cost.

      Whether you’re a family, a club with chapters nationwide, or an international association, Google Apps will let your members communicate and work together online, all for free. Google Apps lets you offer email, instant messaging, and calendar accounts on your own domain name (for example, [email protected]), to keep your group close and build its online identity. You can also design and publish web pages to show others what you’re all about. Learn more

      Best of all, it’s all hosted by Google, so there’s no hardware or software to download, install or maintain. You can get up and running quickly, even if you don’t have any technical experience, and if you don’t have an internet domain yet, we can help you register one when you sign up. Learn more

  5. notanon said on January 20, 2022 at 12:37 pm
    Reply

    Imagine using Google as your primary software, after seeing the plethora of Google schemes that Google has ruined over the years, then being “surprised” by ANOTHER Google scheme gone wrong.

    ROTFMAO.

    * [Editor: removed, please stay polite]

  6. Paul said on January 20, 2022 at 12:51 pm
    Reply

    I am the same I used it for a family service so that I could give some sort of support to my wife and kids. Now there android use is all associated with the web addresses they had. I would like to be able to convert these to gmail accounts and use the domain for email only. It really is not worth paying 24 euros a month for 4 accounts which are basically gmail accounts with a custom address. To those people saying it was always a business system, G Suite was always a business system but Google apps wasn’t and most of us got locked in when it was google apps.

    1. Dave said on January 26, 2022 at 11:08 am
      Reply

      Very true. I am in the same situation – there are 6 of us!

  7. ULBoom said on January 20, 2022 at 2:05 pm
    Reply

    G What?

    I gave up trying to keep up with all the nondescript names for collections of software long ago. Rely on something you don’t control and you get what you get, unfortunately.

    Next month Workspace will be renamed GMeta Experience Non-Legacy or something ridiculous.

  8. dmacleo said on January 20, 2022 at 3:11 pm
    Reply

    I know a few churches that use(d) it due to being non-proft/etc.
    dunno what they are gonna do.

    1. Lyman said on January 20, 2022 at 6:48 pm
      Reply

      Churches can use Google Workspace for Nonprofits.

      1. Volodymyr said on January 29, 2022 at 11:20 pm
        Reply

        Can families use Google Workspace for Nonprofits?

  9. Anonymous said on January 20, 2022 at 3:22 pm
    Reply

    Never rely on any cloud services, especially from these horrible tech giants. They are all bait and switch. Not to mention snooping and harvesting your data.

    100% offline/on premise is always the best.

  10. Serdar said on January 20, 2022 at 3:59 pm
    Reply

    It was also limited to 10 users, I really don’t understand Google. They give messages to IT guys, move ur free domains enabled before. I deployed a lot of Gsuite to Enterprises, I will advise them to migrate Office 365

    1. Chip said on January 24, 2022 at 6:24 pm
      Reply

      Started off with 100 users, then 25, then 10.

    2. Matthew Borcherding said on January 24, 2022 at 8:05 pm
      Reply

      Earlier versions allowed 50 users. (And I think there may have been a 100 user version.)

      I have a couple 50-users ones.

      It was good while it lasted…

  11. Nullvalue said on January 20, 2022 at 6:32 pm
    Reply

    As per normal with Google they love the tried and true bait n switch. G apps started as something being pushed for family and power users, we then got stuck being shoved down the road of a business app.

    For those of you looking to keep access but are unwilling to give Google any undeserved funds I recommend checking out this post for some ideas on keeping access to certain features for free.

    https://www.reddit.com/r/gsuite/comments/s7t45q/g_suite_legacy_free_edition_accounts_being/htf7hot/?context=3

  12. Naveed said on January 20, 2022 at 8:27 pm
    Reply

    Martin, I’d love to see an article exploring options to move out.

    One I can think of is to create a free @gmail account and forward your domain email to that. And then use that email as an alias to send out. It should work more or less the same. Transferring the existing emails is a different problem.

    1. KenLin said on January 20, 2022 at 9:27 pm
      Reply

      I would like that article as well.

      Your forwarding method will only work until July. Then the Google Workspace gets deleted and no more forwarding.

      1. Naveed said on January 21, 2022 at 3:30 am
        Reply

        I should have been clearer – set up the forward through your domain registrar.

      2. Daz said on January 21, 2022 at 3:55 am
        Reply

        i think i will move to Microsoft 365 family, i wont be able to use Aliases of which i have a lot, but i can keep using my own domain. $130pa for 6 users with 1tb of onedrive and access to all office apps is ok for me.

        Goodbye google – i am done with you.

  13. Naveed said on January 20, 2022 at 8:32 pm
    Reply

    This video explains how to move the emails. https://m.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=187&v=KhV14pOiP2Q

  14. leland said on January 20, 2022 at 9:13 pm
    Reply

    The original Free accounts allowed you to select how many users you wanted available during sign up. The domains I manage that used it I set to 50. Yes, this will cause a lot of change. I have some users who can be moved onto another domain with just our web/email hosting provider. But some are just so entwined I will have to keep at least some of these addresses available. It’s to bad Google doesn’t just allow a Google One account for each personal domain account that is not used for business purposes. The cost would be much more acceptable for personal use. Now my work load will increase until this is dealt with.

  15. Winston said on January 21, 2022 at 12:25 am
    Reply

    Microsoft 365 Home is now cheaper.

    1. Sam said on January 21, 2022 at 2:53 pm
      Reply

      I found iCloud and Zoho is cheaper.

  16. Michael said on January 23, 2022 at 12:38 am
    Reply

    This petition was created to encourage Google to create a migration tool. Please sign, support, and distribute it.
    https://www.change.org/p/google-account-migration-from-workspace-to-gmail/

  17. Paul said on January 24, 2022 at 1:56 pm
    Reply

    I am not a business user. Google apps for your domain was suggested as an ideal option for family use when I joined back in 2006.
    I have many members of my family who have been using accounts on a private domain for years. Their digital lives are invested in access to these accounts. I cannot afford to pay for every user to stop them losing access to their email, all the accounts they have signed up to using their google ID, android phones and apps they have paid for etc. Neither can I provide support to help them all individually migrate their data.
    I understand Google beginning to charge businesses, but they need to support families with a suitable transition to unpaid Google accounts.
    Why can’t current addresses which are unrelated to business use simply be made to work as aliases to gmail accounts?

  18. Anonymous said on January 25, 2022 at 12:52 pm
    Reply

    Ok Google, I’m very done with you. This was what I needed to totally exit your platforms. Thank you.

  19. Trinity said on January 27, 2022 at 6:38 pm
    Reply

    I continue to be amazed at some people here batting for Google, saying things like ‘you should not have signed up’ or ‘all businesses are like this.’ etc etc.

    With all due respect, please remember that when 16 years ago Google offered these free accounts, these were mostly the only way for some folks to get on the internet of apps etc, and no other end user friendly methods were available. In essence, they were trapped by Google into signing up in huge numbers, then making the Google suite of apps popular among schools and orgs and families. Many folks took the ‘free forever’ from Google as gospel because at that time Google was still considered ‘not evil’ for whatever purposes, naive or not.

    Now that Google has shed all pretense of goodness and is actively out to gouge the very people which helped Google Drive/Docs etc such a runaway success (and taking the pandemic work-at-home necessity as the excuse to make obscenely profiteering “workspace” marketing ploys and such), we should collectively resist this move by Big Tech and report it to mainstream media as much as we can.

  20. vdias said on January 28, 2022 at 8:38 am
    Reply

    Yes… im affected… I was using custom domain for my family email service.

    This going to be a nightmare.

    Really hate google policy on this… google workspace do not have the services that are available to a free gmail account…

  21. Timothy Moore said on January 28, 2022 at 8:43 am
    Reply

    We will miss google drive. It has been a very useful platform within education, in particular for sharing tracking of students and shearing resources.
    It seems that once we start to enjoy free tech, it gets changed or needs to be paid for.
    The same thing is happening with YouTube.What used to be an excellent sharing platform has now become so heavily laden with adverts, we are using it less and less.
    It seems the “bean counters” (accountants), are winning again.

    Tim

  22. vdias said on January 28, 2022 at 9:10 am
    Reply

    Is it posible to migrate custom domain to another provider… and afterwards create a google account (not gmail) using the same email with custom domain that was using in old workspace? Will i lose everything that were on the original account?

  23. Tetrapod said on January 28, 2022 at 11:16 am
    Reply

    This will be my nightmare for months to come. I’m in the same boat as many others here having used this with several domains for family purposes.

    In addition, I have for the last 15 years used one domain as a catch-all for any mail coming to that domain, making it easy to have different mail addresses for all accounts on the Internet. This means I have like 600 different accounts all over the place, all with different mail addresses. Every new account get my mail and sign-on as [email protected] I do not have to create a new mail address because it’s catch-all and my internet footprin is very secure. Somebody leaking my account – no problem – I do not use that address somewhere else. Somebody start spaming and I will know who generated it.

    …do not know what to do now

  24. Dimitris Mindrinos said on February 2, 2022 at 3:22 pm
    Reply

    Google policy from the begin was evething free, and after they will pay

  25. Bob T said on February 2, 2022 at 8:52 pm
    Reply

    got screwed here too. I just wish they offered just email, i dont care about any of the other products. I’m not paying for email so moving the email back to my hosting company or i’ll end up using a regular gmail address or @me.com

    1. DAWOOD SUBEDAR said on April 16, 2022 at 7:09 pm
      Reply

      Exactly my situation. No response from Google though when queried about only email option other than not using custom domain.

  26. FuriousSmallBusinessOwner said on February 2, 2022 at 11:20 pm
    Reply

    Considering the steep cost of the new forced “options”, it does feel like Google is perfectly happy throwing their older customers, the early adopters, under the bus.
    If a small business has 10 users, their cost is going up from $0 to at least $720 a year !!!

    Looks like Google is hiring very questionable resources in their business management team because whoever there thought this level of price gauging will work well does not understand retaliatory dynamics in customer relations.

  27. Mirko said on March 12, 2022 at 10:12 pm
    Reply

    People saying “you should blame yourself” are just not long enough in this. I’m one of the first users of Google in general. Was Internet user before Google, in times before Internet Explorer, when Netscape v1 and floppies ruled. This, what is stolen from us now, started as “familly domains, always free” marketing. Stolen? yes, but I’m not referring to the service itself. I’m referring to everything we, and our families bought using Google Account and that we are going to loose now. Work, we have to do to setup everything back to the way it was before “always free” Google lie.

    But Google is just one of many. MS, Apple,… all the same. It’s just about last minute for people to realize importance of Open Source, privacy and security online.

    Well, don’t know for others, but they’re going to loose money with this on me. NextCloud is installed, VPN setup, email forwarder being setup, Pine phone ordered… time to make some compromises in quality of services but be free again.

  28. Taken advantageof said on April 4, 2022 at 4:58 am
    Reply

    Yeah, Google offered “at least 7 years” of internet service for a one time $300.00 construction fee. 6 1/2 yrs later they were ending my service unless I started paying. When questioning this, was told my payments wouldn’t begin until my full 7 yrs was over. NOPE, they’re billing me. Although 6 1/2 yrs was nice, I feel a bit short changed?.

  29. Eric said on May 3, 2022 at 1:15 am
    Reply

    The folks who jumped in prior to 2012 served to help Google grow into the company it now is. Now that they are profitable, they want to screw everyone who helped them to the top. Sad

  30. Tony Casella said on May 8, 2022 at 3:38 am
    Reply

    Thank you for putting my feelings into words! I feel betrayed and lied to by Google, and you phrased it eloquently. Thank you

  31. TJ said on May 10, 2022 at 10:51 pm
    Reply

    I noticed a lot of “I knew it would someday” comments and I’m not “targeting” in a negative way, but just want to clear up what google said. Google offered a platform, for free, that would never be take away. It was for life or as long as Google existed, users would have access in perpetuity. We took Google up on their offer and entered into a contract. Google experimented with us, used us as guinea pigs and improved their service and offering while we adapted to the changes because we knew we had accounts “for life.”

    Google entered into a contract with us and we would have the minimum service forever. Google has unilaterally, all by themselves with no input from the other party, renegotiated (re-negged) the contract and is in breech. We have no recourse in any large way excepte for a class action…

    Bottom line- this is who Google is. Liars. Dissemblers. Tell you part of the story to make themselves look good. Everything for them is relative. They have no principle. Contract breakers.

    If this was done to them, they would scream from the heights about how unfair it is, but since it benefits them they justify it by assuming the other parties will be happy with 50% off “for life.” Say, where did I hear that before?

    Burn me once, shame on Google. Burn me twice, shame on me.

    Stay as far away from them as possible.

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