Until now, early users of Google’s G Suite could use their own domain name for free. However, the tech giant now says that that is coming to an end, with major consequences for early customers.
Google says it will discontinue the free version of G Suite that allowed businesses to use their own domain name. Those who signed up for the service between 2006 and 2012 could use G Suite with their own domain name. So, for example, you could email from your company name instead of ‘gmail.com’. The service to set up free domain names for G Suite was already deprecated in 2012, but companies that already had one have been able to use it until now.
So that is about to change. Those companies that use the free version of G Suite will have to pay for it from May. Google has sent emails to “G Suite legacy free edition” users saying they have until July 1 to “upgrade” their account to a paid version. If not, users will lose access to services such as Gmail and Calendar from August.
The service, now called Google Workspace, now costs $6 per user, per month, with a slew of upgrades and more expensive tiers. However, between 2006 and 2012, that basic service was free. So, most importantly, companies that have been using Google G Suite for their email and other online office services for a decade or more are now more or less forced to pay for a service that was free when they signed up for it.
The alternative would be to move to another online system or even a free gmail.com account, but then there is the risk that many of them will lose some of their infrastructure and branding. Google offers export features, but rebuilding ten years or more of emails, calendars, and documents isn’t exactly easy. So early customers are actually a bit put off.