Free G-Suite Users Have to Pay to Keep Accounts, Google Says

Workspace customers who were using the service before 2012 have until this point been allowed to continue for free.
Aaron Drapkin

Google has made it known that legacy free users of its Google Workspace program – previously called G-Suite until 2020 – will have to start paying by the summer of this year. 

The news means that Google Workspace will no longer have any free users – bar a small handful of educational and non-profit organizations – and just four tiers of paid plans. 

For many users, switching to free, cheaper, or more feature-rich project management software or a program like Microsoft 365 may now be more beneficial for their business. 

What do Google Workspace Users Have to do to Keep the Features?

Google is currently in the process of sending emails out to all legacy free users to warn them of the impending changes. These users have until May 1 of this year to sign up for a subscription. The first payment will be taken on July 1, 2022. 

If you have already uploaded your bank details or other payment information to Google Workspace, then Google will automatically “upgrade” you to a paid account. If you have not sorted this out by the July 1 deadline, then your legacy free account will be suspended. 

If you’re unsure which account you currently have – or whether you are one of the legacy free users – head over Google’s “Billing” page. If you’re a legacy user, you should have a message about the imminent changes to your account. 

A Brief History of Google Workspace

Google Workspace started life as Google Apps way, way back in 2006 – in a world where Facebook was still in its infancy and Twitter was barely six months old. How the world has changed since then. 

In 2016, Google rebranded its package aimed at businesses and Google Apps became G-Suite. The Google Workspace we know today was born in 2020. 

Back in June 2021, Google made a number of Workspace features, such as Drive, Docs, and Sheets, available to consumer users with free accounts. 

However, the legacy free users of G-suite, who currently have access to features now reserved for paid plans like a custom business email domain will have to pay to keep it.  This has been the case for all users who signed up to Google Workspace – which was then called Google Apps – in 2012.

All users who’d signed up before that point were permitted, as a courtesy, to continue to use the service without paying a dime. Now, the cheapest service you’ll be able to get your hands on will set you back $6 per user per month. 

How Much Does Google Workspace Cost and Are There Alternatives?

Google Workspace costs $6 per user per month for the Business Starter plan, $12 per user per month for the Business Standard plan, and $18 per user per month for the Business Plus plan. For Enterprise pricing, contact Google's sales team. 

Google Workspace is quite a broad program that can fulfil a lot of functions for users working solo in small teams or in large businesses. The most directly similar competitor is probably the equally broad Microsoft 365, which offers a suite of programs that do very similar things to Google Workspace and includes Microsoft Teams – meaning it's suitable for a whole range of teams and companies that need video conferencing and other services.

Zoho Workspace is another comparable alternative it may be worth checking out – their “Professional” plan is a lot cheaper than Google’s “Business Standard” plan. 

However, depending on which features you pride the most from Google workspace, you may find it worth looking into what project management software options there are out there. monday.com and Asana are two good examples of market-leading project management software programs.

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Price From
All prices listed as per user, per month (billed annually)
Best For
Pros
Cons

ClickUp

monday.com

Smartsheet

Asana

Wrike

Favro

Teamwork

Jira

Zoho Projects

Trello

Celoxis

$10.99/user/month

Overall “Work OS”

Customization

Ease of use

Automation building + streamlining workflows

Complex task management

Customer support

Collaboration

Digital and tech teams

Value for money

Basic task management

Great user experience

  • Competitive pricing options
  • Really robust free plan
  • Very customizable
  • Free Trial
  • Highly customizable platform
  • A bit more affordable compared to other services
  • Automation features save loads of time
  • Spreadsheet-based interface
  • Easy for beginners
  • Great for any sized company
  • Free plan available
  • Wide range of third party integrations
  • Incredible clean and intuitive interface
  • Free options available
  • Free tier available
  • No-nonsense, robust feature catalog
  • Lots of customizability
  • Integrates with Slack, Google Hangouts, Adobe
  • Customizable row/column approach
  • Low cost option
  • Straightforward burndown chart creator
  • Excellent collaboration features
  • Multiple avenues to contact support
  • Lots of Task management features
  • Simple interface
  • Helpful integrations
  • Scalable pricing
  • Easy to use platform
  • Great free tier for small teams
  • Lots of available integrations
  • Functionality for various scenarios
  • Intuitive, drag-and-drop interface
  • Lots of add-ons available
  • Automation builder on all plans
  • Dedicated budget management features
  • Easy to navigate
  • Calendar and resource management chart
  • Limited storage on free plan
  • No feature for post-project feedback gathering
  • Limited collab. features
  • Limited third party integrations
  • Higher tiers required for some features
  • Few third party integrations
  • Some features have limited functionality
  • Most key features require Premium
  • High prices for larger teams
  • Limited customizability
  • Limited options on free plan
  • Mobile options are limited
  • Spreadsheet functionality doesn't support formulas
  • Dependencies complicated to set up
  • Doesn't allow integrations on lowest plan
  • No automation builder
  • Fewer data visualization tools than competitors
  • User limit of 5 on free plan
  • Missing more advanced project management features
  • Integrations can be confusing
  • Monthly rates are a bit high
  • Can get expensive for bigger teams
  • Some functions could be simplified
  • No post-project feedback gathering
  • Very limited free option
  • Too basic for larger teams
  • Add-ons come at a price
  • Minimal customizability
  • No automated workflows
  • High starting price
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Aaron Drapkin is a Senior Writer at Tech.co. He has been researching and writing about technology, politics, and society in print and online publications since graduating with a Philosophy degree from the University of Bristol three years ago. As a writer, Aaron takes a special interest in VPNs and project management software. He has been quoted in the Daily Mirror, Daily Express, The Daily Mail, Computer Weekly, and the Silicon Republic speaking on various privacy and cybersecurity issues, and has articles published in Wired, Vice, Metro, The Week, and Politics.co.uk covering a wide range of topics.