Today I saw the news that Google are pulling on the plug on the G Suite legacy free edition (a.k.a. Google Apps for custom domains). If you don’t recall the story - originally the service was free for up to 50 users (making it quite popular with small companies), then up to 10 users, then up to 5 users, and finally it was made paid for everyone. The people who started to use the service before the terms were changed were kept on what Google called “G Suite legacy free edition”. I am (was?) one of them.
Nothing in life is truly free, however, and it seems that Google has decided to forcefully convert the last holdouts:
To maintain your services and accounts, review the information below and upgrade by May 1, 2022. Upgrading to Google Workspace takes just a few steps with no disruption to your users. After you upgrade you can use your new subscription at no cost until at least July 1, 2022.
If you choose to wait, Google will begin upgrading subscriptions automatically on May 1, 2022. We will upgrade your organization to a new Google Workspace subscription based on the features you currently use.
To complete the upgrade, set up Google Workspace billing before July 1, 2022. If you don’t provide your payment information, your Google Workspace subscription will be suspended until you set up billing.
After 60 days in suspension, you will no longer have access to Google Workspace core services, such as Gmail, Calendar, and Meet. You may still retain access to additional Google services, such as YouTube and Google Photos. Enter a valid form of payment to restore your suspended account.
TLDR; You’ve got 6 months to pay up or we’ll terminate the service for you. What exactly you’ll need to pay is unclear right now. (pretty weird)
I’ve been using the G Suite for over a decade for
batsov.com, so normally I’d be a bit upset about this turn of events, even if I always expected it. And I’d pay up most likely, of course. Now that probably won’t be the case, as I’ve been a happy user of Fastmail for the past half a year and I’ll likely nudge my family members who are still on the G Suite to move over as well, together with the domain. We were only using it for email, anyways.
In the end of the day - I’m actually happy about this development as it gives me an incentive to cut one more tie with Google. I’ve been progressively less fond of the company in recent years and I’m happy to take my (tiny) business elsewhere.
Farewell, G Suite legacy free edition. You won’t be missed.