G Suite users upset at Google's recent move to make them pay for their office software could be in luck thanks to a potential loophole.
The company recently announced that all G Suite legacy free edition users would been shifted over to a paid version of Google Workspace in order to keep access to tools such as Gmail, Meet and Docs.
This had upset users who may have recently signed up for the software, particularly non-business users facing having to pay for the first time – but help could be at hand.
Free G Suite
Google had said the G Suite legacy free edition itself will no longer be available from July 1, 2022, with any users found not to have started paying after 60 days being locked out.
But a loophole spotted by Ars Technica writer Ron Amadeo means that non-business users could potentially get around the change. The site spotted that a section on the FAQ for the transition included a section for users that “use G Suite legacy free edition for personal use and don’t want to upgrade to a Google Workspace subscription.”
This includes users who may have signed up to use the initial build of Workspace, known as Google Apps, when it was launched in 2006, but with a non-gmail.com email address. It may also include users who provided family or friends with Google accounts that have certain services still linked, but not the entire Workspace suite of tools.
“We understand some customers may not use their G Suite legacy free edition for business and may be interested in other options,” the company noted.
Such non-business users with 10 or fewer users in their group are instructed to log into their administrator account to provide more information, meaning they may be able to continue with their current situation at least a little while longer.
Google had planned to automatically upgrade free users from May 1 to “an upgraded Google Workspace paid subscription” based on its analysis of the customer's usage and the features it thinks you'll need.
Google Workplace plans start at $ 6/user/month for its Business Starter option, with Business Standard ($ 12/user/month) and Business Plus ($ 18 /user/month) also on offer, providing an increasing level of services with the amount paid.
Google is offering a discount for twelve months, and won't start charging subscription fees until July 1, 2022. The company is also offering businesses who don't want to pay or upgrade the chance to export their data at no extra cost.
Google rebranded G Suite as Workspace back in October 2020 in a bid to bring more structure to its myriad of apps and services.
Initially described as “the future of work”, the new platform looked to improve the interoperability of its various productivity services, blurring the lines between each product for a more fluid feel.
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