Legacy G Suite free users will soon have to pay for Google Workspace

Google Workspace Hero
Google Workspace Hero (Image credit: Nick Sutrich / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • G Suite legacy free edition users will need to upgrade to a paid Google Workspace subscription to keep using their existing services.
  • The legacy free subscription will be shuttered starting July 1, and users must choose a Workspace subscription by May 1.
  • If you're unable to upgrade by that date, Google will do it for you based on the services you currently use.

Google allowed free G Suite legacy users to continue using its services without charge even after it stopped offering the free edition to new customers back in 2012. However, their honeymoon period with free legacy office software apps will come to an end soon.

Organizations that are still subscribed to the G Suite legacy free edition will have to pay for a Google Workspace subscription starting in July or lose access to Google's services such as Gmail and Meet (via 9to5Google). To continue using those office apps, G Suite legacy free users will need to upgrade to a paid Workspace subscription by May 1.

There are four plans to choose from, including a basic $6 monthly tier for each user and an extensive $18 monthly plan. Customers, however, will not be charged until July 1. There is no way to revert to the previous free edition once you've upgraded.

Based on their usage history, Google will automatically upgrade free accounts that are unable to switch to a Workspace subscription before May 1. Customers must also set up a billing option by July 1 or their Workspace subscription will be terminated.

Google's Workspace support page states: "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."

The free edition was available as part of Google Apps, which was introduced in 2006 and rebranded as G Suite in 2016 (the free Google Apps tier was shut down then). Google rebranded its office software suite once more in 2020, combining Gmail, Chat, Meet, Docs, Sheets, and Slides under one umbrella.

Jay Bonggolto
News Writer & Reviewer

Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He has been writing about consumer tech and apps for as long as he can remember, and he has used a variety of Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. Send him a direct message via Twitter or LinkedIn.

  • Oh, for... You missed the main part of this story! Legacy users bought apps in good faith from Google. Now we are being told we need to pay $6 per month to keep access to those apps. Google refuses to port them to a free account.
  • I understated this. This is going to be a major scandal, and Android Central are burying it. Why? Google can't be bothered to actually email us. (I certainly have had no notification.) They can't be bothered to say that we're going to lose access to our apps. There is going to be a major uproar in May / August (whenever the cutoff actually comes for normal users) when people lose access to stuff they purchased in good faith in April. This is a major story, and Android Central should be making more of it.
  • This is gonna leave a mark. I have so many email addresses that get virtually no traffic sitting in free accounts. Google swore that I was never getting charged for those addresses. The least they could do is add "reply from" tech so I can still use "referrals@mydomain.com" without exposing "myrealname@mydomain.com" and without paying $6 a month. I also fear for everyone who set up vanity domains for their relatives thirteen years ago, who will have to explain why what was free for over a decade now costs $30+ a month.
  • I distinctly remember Google promising that they would NEVER charge Legacy Accounts for future services. This is a con on Google's part and they should be held accountable. I suspect this is early days in this saga. I already pay Google for additional storage - so it's not as if it was free anyway. Am I sore - sure I am sore
  • This is so Google of today right now. Everything that Google has one said would be "free forever" has now come at a price. I had 3 of these legacy Google Apps accounts, all created back when the concept of Google Apps were for "families" and "Teams," etc. However, 2019 saw me move my primary domain from Google to Microsoft (and pretty soon here, to iCloud) due to G Suite accounts not having feature parity to free Google Accounts (try adding your G Suite account to Google Home and see how far that goes). But, I still had two domains still on legacy and with this announcement, I'm moving them to Zoho and am pretty much going to be done with Google from here on out. Whether it be Google Voice, Reader, Allo, some other program they choose to get rid of all the way down to Google Photos unlimited to now limited, Google can't be trusted with anything anymore at this point.