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G Suite legacy free edition: Google promises users another option

G Suite legacy free edition is still shutting down in July, but non-business users are getting a few options to save their data.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Google is apparently offering an olive branch to users of its G Suite legacy free edition, after last week telling them they would have to move to a paid Workspace account starting in July. 

Google's decision to force the transition to Workspace rankled non-business users who set up a free G Suite account over a decade ago. 

Google stopped offering the free edition to new customers in December 2012 but kept the service alive. Then last week it informed users that this edition will cease on July 1, 2022, and that they'd have until May 1 to pick an alternative paid-for Workspace account. The G Suite legacy free edition let users have a Google email address ending with their own website domain rather than the "@gmail.com" address. 

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As spotted by Ars Technica, Google may offer a reprieve for certain users affected, primarily if they don't use it for business. 

One issue was that the Google Takeout option to export data as local files didn't let affected users export paid content previously from Google Play or YouTube. But the overarching issue was that these free edition users would have to pay at least $6 per user per month for the Workspace Business Starter account. 

Google has now updated the support page with a new section addressing G Suite legacy free edition for people who "use it for personal use and don't want to upgrade to a Google Workspace subscription". 

Google makes no promises but recommends these users, who must have 10 or fewer users, fill in a survey asking them to provide more information. Affected users need to sign with a non gmail.com email address.   

"Upgrading to a Google Workspace subscription is a seamless transition for all customers currently on the G Suite legacy free edition. However, we understand some customers may not use their G Suite legacy free edition for business and may be interested in other options. If you have 10 or fewer users in your group and do not use your G Suite legacy free edition for business, please sign in to your administrator account to provide more information," it said.

Google also clarified that people who don't upgrade to Workspace will "still retain access to additional Google services and paid content purchased though non-Google Workspace services made with your legacy edition account (such as movies purchased on Google Play)."

The survey asks whether affected users use G Suite legacy free edition for personal use, to manage a business, or for both. It also asks users to give Google permission to "reach out with tailored updates and special offers regarding your G Suite legacy free edition".

Addressing the export issue and paid content, Google has also published a new section detailing a no-cost but basic option for those who don't want to upgrade to a paid Workspace subscription, but do want to transfer their data.

"In the coming months, we'll provide an option for you to move your non-Google Workspace paid content and most of your data to a no-cost option. This new option won't include premium features like custom email or multi-account management. You'll be able to evaluate this option prior to July 1, 2022 and prior to account suspension. We'll update this article with details in the coming months," Google says

This option sounds similar to the recently launched Workspace Individual Plan, but it normally costs $9.99 a month and offers some premium features but lacks custom email address and multi-account support.

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