Google keeps legacy G Suite alive and free for personal use

Google has quietly dropped its demand that users of its free G Suite legacy edition cough up to continue enjoying custom email domains and cloudy productivity tools.

This story starts in 2006 with the launch of “Google Apps for Your Domain”, a bundle of services that included email, a calendar, Google Talk, and a website building tool. Beta users were offered the service at no cost, complete with the ability to use a custom domain if users let Google handle their MX record.

The service evolved over the years and added more services, and in 2020 Google rebranded its online productivity offering as “Workspace”. Beta users got most of the updated offerings at no cost.

Then in January 2022 Google warned users who scored free access that time was up: by midyear they’d need to either pay for a Workspace, or put themselves on a waitlist for a free service that offered all the same features they’d enjoyed for years – other than using custom mail domains.

The prospect of a cloudy migration was not something users found appetising.

Matters were made worse by Google dangling a vague promise of ongoing free service, but without explanation of its features or how long users could be on a waitlist before the new service kicked in.

Those worries are now history as Google quietly updated a support document with news that it’s added an option to “Stay on the no-cost legacy G Suite” provided the suite is used for personal purposes only.

Your correspondent has used that migration tool and can report it’s a one-click process after which – mercifully – nothing changes. All data and email accounts remain in place, without disruption.

Users aren’t completely out of the woods as if they don’t choose the free personal option by August 1st, 2022, they may lose access and data.

The service is still modest – each of the allowed ten users gets 15GB of cloud storage and basic document editing and collaboration services.

But the price is hard to beat, and infinitely lower than the $99.99 annual fee Microsoft charges for Office 365 Family, the product often suggested as an easy replacement for legacy G Suite. ®

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