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Google to shut down free G Suite accounts

Legacy G Suite users have been able to continue using their custom domain accounts for free for ten years

G Suite logo visible on smartphone

Google has said it will give those with free G Suite accounts until 1 July to upgrade their plans to a paid subscription, after which point they will lose access to most of its services.

Announced in an email to customers on Wednesday, the policy will not apply to those businesses in the non-profit and education sectors, which can continue to use the services free of charge.

The announcement comes a decade after the tech giant suspended the free basic tier for access to Gmail, Calendar, and Google Docs.

Prior to this, between 2006 and 2012, the tech giant allowed business users to create their own custom domain account for free, as opposed to using the gmail.com email address.

The service has been a paid privilege since 2012, yet legacy G Suite users have been able to continue using their custom domain accounts for free for ten years.

However, based on emails sent to account administrators yesterday, Google seems to have had a change of heart.

“We are writing to let you know that your G Suite free edition will no longer be available starting July 1, 2022,” the email, seen by Google9to5, reads.

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The message warns account administrators that, in order to maintain their services and accounts, they will have to upgrade to Google Workspace, which was launched in 2020 as a fully-integrated productivity platform containing widely-used G Suite apps including Gmail, Calendar and Drive, among others.

Users that upgrade to a paid business tier by 1 May 2022 will be able to use their new subscription for free until “at least” 1 July, the tech giant stated.

Meanwhile, those who don’t select a tier and have their billing details available will be automatically upgraded to a paid subscription by Google. If no billing information is available for an account, Google will suspend the account for up to 60 days, after which users “will no longer have access to Google Workspace core services, such as Gmail, Calendar, and Meet”.

However, they “may still retain access to additional Google services, such as YouTube and Google Photos”.

In order to restore their suspended account, users will have to provide a valid form of payment.

Google’s most basic tier, the Business Starter, costs £4.60 per user per month, and is currently discounted to £4.14. However, the tier only allows 30 GB cloud storage per user, with users wishing to upgrade their storage having to pay twice as much per user per month.

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