After announcing last week that legacy free G Suite accounts would need to start paying, Google is backing off some of the more drastic changes. The search giant plans to offer a data migration tool, allowing these users to switch to regular consumer accounts.
As detailed by Ars Technica, these accounts were for Google Apps (which has in recent years been renamed to G Suite and ultimately Google Workspace). The accounts allow users to have a Google account with a custom domain (for example, instead of ‘@gmail.com,’ you can have ‘@mobilesyrup.com’).
Although typically used for businesses, the base G Suite tier was free from 2006 to 2012, and anyone could sign up for a Google account with a custom domain. It seems a lot of people did just that, and Google wasn’t aware of just how many people would be affected by its move to make free accounts start paying.
The search giant initially gave these users two options: pay the per-user monthly fee by July 2022 or lose your account. For many, that choice felt incredibly harsh, especially since the only way to get data out of the G Suite account was through Google’s ‘Takeout’ service. As Ars explains, Takeout only lets you download your account data to a local device, and it’s not easy to then re-upload that data into a new account. Moreover, it doesn’t include things like purchases, so if you bought anything digital through your Google account — such as apps on your Android phone, movies, etc. — you’d lose those too.
Google issues survey to gather info about free G Suite users
Following the outcry from users, Google quietly updated the support page for the impending free G Suite shutdown. The search giant also said it would send a survey out to get more information from users (if you have a free G Suite account, you’ll see a link to this survey targeting G-Suite admins with 10 users or less that use G Suite for “non-business” purposes). Google says those who fill out the survey will receive “updates on more options for [their] non-business legacy account in the coming months.”
Google also plans to “provide an option for you to move your non-Google Workspace paid content and most of your data to a no-cost option” in the coming months. Specifically, Google says users will be “able to evaluate this option prior to July 1, 2022” but notes it won’t include premium features like custom email or multi-account management.
While not totally clear, that option sounds like it covers apps, games and other digital purchases made through your Google account. That will likely be the ideal option for anyone with one of these legacy G Suite accounts who want to migrate to a regular consumer account.
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