back to article Google sours on legacy G Suite freeloaders, demands fee or flee

Google has served eviction notices to its legacy G Suite squatters: the free service will no longer be available in four months and existing users can either pay for a Google Workspace subscription or export their data and take their not particularly valuable businesses elsewhere. "If you have the G Suite legacy free edition, …

  1. Pirate Dave Silver badge
    Pirate

    So, eh, when did Google notify the affected users? And how do we tell if we're going to lose service? I mean, assuming we haven't gotten an email from the Chocolate Factory yet. I haven't received any notice from Google that they are going to cut me off if I don't pay, nor are there any announcements about it in the Admin console, but at the same time, I'm not 100% sure what service I do have now. I've had my account since 2006, back when it was called Google Apps for Domains.

    $72/year is a bit much, IMHO, considering I primarily only use it for email formy vanity domain. I guess if it's not free anymore, then it's not useful anymore, and I'll move on - maybe get another VM from Vultr for $5/month and run my own email server. Hmm, I wonder if I can still find my old Groupwise 6.5 install CD. lol.

    1. emfiliane

      That's entirely what this seems to boil down to -- anyone who uses a vanity domain for their email now has to pay for the privilege of hooking up to it. Otherwise you get to go back to an @gmail.

      And back to ad-hoc sharing, but I can't imagine any business out there ran for the last 10 years without bumping against the account's shared limits, which even individual users often do within a year or so, plus Google drive's filesystem integration sucks, so I'm sure anyone still left on the free plan knows all about other ways of sharing files.

      1. AMBxx Silver badge

        Cloudflare are offering a service to redirect custom email domains to 'other' domains - 'Cloudflare Email Routing'. It's still in beta and you have to apply to join. I've just been accepted, but not had chance to take a proper look yet.

        Could be a useful solution to the gmail problem?

        1. Pirate Dave Silver badge

          Interesting. Does Cloudflare actually host/store the email like Gmail does, or is it just a forwarding/filtering service that expects to send the email on your external server somewhere else?

          1. AMBxx Silver badge

            It some sort of forwarding service. Not sure how it copes with the replies yet. Not a priority for me as I'm happy with my MS Action Pack Subscription. It's more for what to do when I retire and don't want to spend a load on just receiving email to a personal domain I've owned for 20+ years.

      2. tekHedd

        vanity email domain?

        And if email is your main use, there are many other options for fully managed email hosting that...by definition...are all more respectful of your privacy, and no less likely to suddenly discontinue service for no apparent reason.

        (I like fastmail)

        1. jason_derp Silver badge

          Re: vanity email domain?

          "(I like fastmail)"

          I, too, like Fastmail.

          1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

            Re: vanity email domain?

            I, too, like Fastmail.

            I prefer self-hosted qmail and postfix..

            (And a firewall that does spam blocking/greylisting..)

    2. Ben Tasker Silver badge

      > $72/year is a bit much, IMHO, considering I primarily only use it for email formy vanity domain

      Yeah, pretty much my view. We use it for mail and a little bit of Drive (but I can replace that quite trivially).

      My biggest concern is what happens to our Google Accounts (in the SSO sense) after - our Android devices are signed in using our AfD accounts.

      Also, anything that's been purchased in Play Store will be lost - Google don't provide a way to migrate purchases over to (say) a free Gmail account, I looked into that a while back when I found that Google won't let you use Google Family Safety (or WTF it's called) with Apps for Domains accounts.

      To be honest, I'm probably more likely to migrate us all over to O365 than I am to pay Google

      1. Pirate Dave Silver badge
        Pirate

        Ah, hell, I hadn't thought about the Android/apps angle. That puts a different twist on things.

        I've never much used Drive, I've got all the cloudy-storage goodness I could want through my O365 account at work.

        The biggest reason I've stuck with Google AfD (well, aside from it being free) was their support for wildcard/catch-all email handling, and I've used that fairly extensively over the years. I don't think O365 supports that. And after all these years, I sort of prefer Gmail's web interface to the hulking monster of OWA or whatever it's called now.

    3. ExampleOne

      That $72/month is per user. For the family usecase, MS365 is going to be significantly cheaper.

      I suspect that the "freeloaders" are not as freeloading as Google think. If they are often operating vanity domains, it suggests a level of technical competence and probable influence.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        > For the family usecase, MS365 is going to be significantly cheaper

        MS365 Education edition is free too, so you might not have to pay for some members of your household.

        Time was once that schoolkids and students didn't pay for software anyway because they passed cassette tapes, bundles of floppy disks, CDs or keygens between each other, so as to preserve the comic book or beer budget.

      2. Pirate Dave Silver badge
        Pirate

        Actually, Microsoft365 is $99/year or $9/month for the family plan. So Google does have a slight edge on price. MS also has an individual M365 account for $6.99/month, which is closer in price, but more restrictive in number of users.

        Also, from first glance, the personal and family accounts don't appear to support vanity domains. I could be wrong about that, but MS doesn't mention it in any of the pre-sales "Sign up now" info that I've seen so far.

        1. krakead
          Facepalm

          They do, but the domain has to be hosted with GoDaddy *shudders*

          https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/office/get-a-personalized-email-address-in-microsoft-365-75416a58-b225-4c02-8c07-8979403b427b

          1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

            Damn....

          2. Pirate Dave Silver badge
            Pirate

            I'm in luck (?), my domain is already hosted by GoDaddy.

            Thanks for that link.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Mixed Luck

              The link may be useful but if requires you to use goddammy as a registrar, well it's at best a mixed blessing. May god have mercy on you.

              And I'm not judging, ok well not judging much, you might not even be the one who used them in the first place. Let's just go with that.

              1. Pirate Dave Silver badge
                Pirate

                Re: Mixed Luck

                Nah, my domain has been with them since 2006 - back when their commercials were full of bikini-clad babes washing cars or whatever it was. Scandal!

                I've never had an issue with them, but I only use them for registration and DNS, not web hosting or email.

          3. hoola Silver badge

            But there are 2 huge caveats (when I looked)

            You have to use GoDaddy for the domain

            The domain is only used for the inbound emails. Anything you send uses the outlook.com address.

            I could not find anyway or sorting the latter out and just gave up switching the friend I was helping setup email for her teaching using this,

            In the end I just suggested she pay for a basic hosted service from LCN. Yes it costs but everything just works.

        2. Ben Tasker Silver badge

          You can use vanity domains with the Family account. I read somewhere (including the MS forums) that you have to use GoDaddy as a registrar for this, but the docs don't support it, so it may be that requirement has dropped.

          For what it's worth, you get a *lot* more storage with MS than with Google (1TB vs 30GB) on those two plans - isn't really a selling point for me as I store almost everything in Nextcloud, but means it's hard to apples-apples the price.

          MS do also do a cheaper version that only has email and Onedrive (i.e. no office access - £3.80/user/month), but the exclusion of Office means you've still got to find a replacement for Docs (assuming you were using it).

          Zoho look good on price - £2.40/user/month for mail and their docs replacement, or £3.20/user/month if you only want mail (guessing the price is higher because they want to drive uptake of the other).

          I'm currently trying to decide whether I'm willing to pay a (slight) premium to not have Google's mitts on my data (leaning towards yes). The sticking point for me is still the SSO stuff. I *think* you can still create a sign-in account (i.e. no mail, docs etc etc), but haven't the foggiest whether existing stuff will transfer over or not.

          1. Pirate Dave Silver badge

            I'm seeing mail-only (mail lite) at Zoho is only $1.25/month ($15/year) for 10 GB. I don't need apps or storage, just email, so that's enough for me. Gmail shows I'm using 1.35 GB of 15, so I've got plenty of space.

            I've signed up to Zoho with one of my secondary domains and am in the process of getting everything setup. Overall, it looks pretty decent so far, and does support catch-all processing. I'll try to remember to report back here once I get it going.

            1. juice Silver badge

              > I've signed up to Zoho with one of my secondary domains and am in the process of getting everything setup. Overall, it looks pretty decent so far, and does support catch-all processing. I'll try to remember to report back here once I get it going.

              I'll be interested to see how that goes.

              I've got a vanity domain/email, which is currently just an alias to an old ISP email address. I did start to look into pointing it at gmail, but was put off by the cost.

              But I can probably live with Zoho's £0.80 per month/£9.60 per year :)

              1. Pirate Dave Silver badge

                Zoho looks good so far. Setup was quick and easy. I'm liking it.

              2. EnviableOne Silver badge

                Forever Free Plan

                Up to five users, 5GB/User, 25MB attachment limit.

                Web access and free mobile apps*.

                Email hosting for single domain.

        3. dtucny

          Microsoft 365 Family is $9/month or $99/year for 6 users.

          Google Business Starter is $6/month per user, which would work out at $432/year for 6 users.

          My G Suite Legacy Free as it's now named has a limit of 25 users. I have 8 accounts in use from that, all family members.

          I have Microsoft 365 Family with a custom domain, but, only a couple of people are on that and with a limit of 6 users, 8 won't fit, but, if I kicked off two older members of the family that don't use it much, I could get everyone on to it, for $99/month.

          If I accepted an automatic upgrade from Google to Google Workspace Business Starter, I'd have a $48 bill per month, $576 per year. If someone had actually used all the 25 users, potentially giving email to their pets and toaster, if they don't remove some of those accounts, they are going to get a surprise $150 / month bill starting in July.

      3. Sam Crawley
        FAIL

        Spot on, this is going to create a load of work for relatively technical users who are more likely to work in IT, and I suspect the bad blood and damage to trust will mean many consequential recommendations to drop Google Workplace in corporate environments.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          YAFGMFG

          Yet Another Foot Gun Moment for Google.

          From the posts here, there does not seem to be a lot of support for this move by Google. They regularly do things like this so for some, it might not be all that unexpected.

          If it makes people drop google then as far as I'm concerned then that is good.

          Let's go Google!

      4. TechnicalVault

        It's a confidence thing

        Yep, a fair number of the people with these domains are decision makers myself included. For me this is a final nail in the coffin, personally I am pretty much likely to banish any chance of GSuite ever being a supported thing in my workplace. They make good software but they seem to have the attention span of a kitten. Time and again they have taken a perfectly good stable service and depreciated it because seemingly it's not exciting enough for them. I need a nice boring service provider who is not going to force me to do a massive migration for thousands of users because they've decided they wanted to change tack again.

        1. Jnex26

          Re: It's a confidence thing

          Yep me too, it is a bad blood thing for me.. The work this is going to create will negatively impact my choise of Gmail for life...

          Luckliy I have no purchases attached to that account and never used the sso

    4. TheFifth

      I've also not received any notification email to tell me they'll be pulling the plug. I've been considering de-googling my life for a while, but have been too lazy to do it. This is the push I need. Self hosting for me from now on!

    5. anothercynic Silver badge

      I haven't had any notifications either...

      1. Sam Crawley

        I haven't been proactively notified either but go into the admin dashboard, subscriptions, there's a strapline saying something like "consider upgrading to premium" - click on "Learn more" and it will tell you that there's no "consider" about it...

    6. roblightbody

      I also signed up for this (and helped three other people to do the same) when it was called Google Apps for Domains.

      Today I tried to upgrade my main one to the business starter and I couldn't. The billing has defaulted to the USA at some point in the past, and there is no way to change it - ever. I have no way of paying...

      Its a huge amount of hassle and forcing lots of families and individuals into a business account that they don't want.

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Google Cloud. Who knew they were signing up to a buy now, pay later scheme?

      The so-called benefits of Cloud /sarc, giving someone else your data to look after.

      Given this and recent news. HMRC should look their own newly signed contacts with MS and realise they are signing up to a Cloudy buy now, pay later scheme. What happens exactly when there is no budget/a company enters administration (and takes a while to sort out) and can't pay for Google Cloud services at some future point?

    8. sketharaman

      Why Gmail When Hosting Provider Gives Free Mail Boxes?

      I get unlimited free email inboxes from my hosting provider. I've never understood the need for Gmail or Google Mail Email Service Provider although a lot of people do use it.

      https://gtm360.com/blog/2017/05/12/why-gmail-when-hosting-provider-gives-free-mail-boxes/

    9. John Robson Silver badge

      Digging through the options a bit I came across this:

      Link: https://support.google.com/a/answer/60217

      Question: What if I use G Suite legacy free edition for personal use and don't want to upgrade to a Google Workspace subscription?

      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 complete the form below by April 1, 2022 if you're interested in learning about different options for your account in the coming months.

      G Suite legacy free edition feedback form

      Note that even if you decide you don't want to upgrade to Google Workspace, you'll 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). Learn more above.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bait

    and Switch.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Absolutely.

      But hey, Google will be Google.

      And it's a bit rich to call people freeloaders when you started by offering the product for free. Don't act all surprised that people prefer staying with that contract.

    2. Lazlo Woodbine

      Re: Bait

      It's not really bait & switch, they closed the service to new accounts 10 years ago.

    3. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Bait

      Yeah after only 15 years they throw the switch on you.

      1. Peter X

        Re: Bait

        Maybe they should've given people a bit more notice then? Otherwise it does feel like they're slamming the door shut and demanding money to get out.

    4. Pirate Dave Silver badge
      Pirate

      Re: Bait

      I don't know if it's bait and switch, but it does seem like the thing we always accused Microsoft of doing - get users addicted to the service, then start turning the screws to extract the $$$. I'll give Google some credit for letting us have it free for 15+ years, though.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dang! It's half price for the first year though..

    I guess there are a lot of people out there like me that want a custom domain so they never have to deal with moving if the provider changes but basically got that domain locked to google because it's real nice to have email, docs, android etc on that domain to.

    $6 a month wouldn't be so bad if it was just me.. but I have 5 accounts because it was easier to have my wife, mother in-law etc use accounts for gmail, playstore

    etc on my domain so when they lost their password I could reset it. $30 a month isn't soooo bad I guess but I could have a whole server for that and it would have enough capacity to handle thousands of email accounts. Put I'd loose the android integration and do I really want to manage an email server again especially now that you need DKIM etc setup correctly.. I'm torn.

    The only thing positive about this is at least (for me at least..) when I entered billing info it's said it'll be free until July this year, and half price until July next year.

    So there is a bit more time to decide what to do in the long term.

    1. Pirate Dave Silver badge
      Pirate

      Re: Dang! It's half price for the first year though..

      I haven't ventured that far into the sign-up process yet. So it goes up to $12/month in July next year? That's a bummer.

      1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

        Re: Dang! It's half price for the first year though..

        Depends on the package you go for.

        The lowest one is $3/month/user until July next year and then goes up to $6/mo/user. The one above that is $6/mo/user til July next year, then $12/mo/user

        It's free from now until July too - they obviously want us to upgrade rather than waiting for the free to run out

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      half price for the first year though..

      Second only to "here kid, the first hit is free" in setting of the warning alarms.

      These prices are per user and they are for lack a of a better word INSANE.

      How many users on an average business domain? Even SMBs can buy the box this runs on for less than that a year. And that box could run the mail for 500 other SMB businesses.

      The costs of email service aren't linear per mailbox. And at Googles scale their cost per user is not even pennies, let alone dollars. So why should I be happy paying for even a 1$ a month mailbox when for a single user it's 99.99% profit to Google, and for a school with a thousand students it's cheaper to self host. I understand that storage costs money, but each email address is nothing more than a line in a config file.

      I'd happily pay 50$ a year for hosting a email domain with a reasonably high cap on the number of accounts(100s or 1000s) and a pay by the pound bonus for storage used. I'll even look the other way if the per GB on the storage is 3x market rate for cloud storage.

      The rest of these pay per account per month hosts can shove off.

  4. Slick2097

    Just great.

    I've not received the email yet but I think I am on the free G Suite tier. I joined (March 2012) way back when it was Google Apps just before they stopped offering the free tier in December of that year. I am a home user, my "organisation" in G Suite is myself and 3 other family members who use less that 1GB of G Drive storage and nothing else.

    I've used it mainly so I can have my emails from my domain name (also now hosted by Google Domains) forwarded on to my GMail, and I used to use a bit of Google Drive storage (I've migrated that over to using One Drive as I pay for Office yearly so get the 1TB of storage). Not exactly a heavy user. :)

    So, I will not be paying $6 a month for this. I will have to migrate my data and go somewhere else that offers a similar service for free. If that means binning off GMail and the other google provided services, so be it.

    I think myself, and possibly many others waking up to this news today, would appreciate people's advice on any alternative free services for those like myself that use G Suite mainly for email with the ability to use your own domain name. If anyone is aware or can recommend any solutions, please let me know via the comments. Or perhaps this is something El Reg can knock up for a future article? I'm sure I wont be the only one who would appreciate the advice.

    Whilst i'm not adverse to spinning up a linux VM and creating my own mail exchange (i've done this in the past), I would prefer a hosted solution rather than relying on my home infrastructure and being at the mercy of Virgin Media reliability. :)

    1. Pirate Dave Silver badge

      Re: Just great.

      "Or perhaps this is something El Reg can knock up for a future article?"

      I second the motion.

    2. Ben Tasker Silver badge

      Re: Just great.

      > appreciate people's advice on any alternative free services for those like myself that use G Suite mainly for email with the ability to use your own domain name

      I've got some that are not *free* but aren't overly expensive

      Zoho: was looking at this this morning, they've got a mail only tier for £0.80/user/month, mail and storage £3.20/user/month, full productivity £2.40/user/month: https://www.zoho.com/workplace/pricing.html?src=wp

      Mythic: I use Mythic beasts to host one of my mail domains, it's like £2.00/month (total, not per user). You get IMAP/POP access and a decent amount of storage (in mail terms). - https://www.mythic-beasts.com/hosting

      I'm considering both as options, I've been working on freeing us of Google for some time, but mail+accounts were something of a sticking point (a lot of work, especially when it's free). Also considering O365, but now less sure on that

      1. Slick2097

        Re: Just great.

        Thank you Sir. I'm considering Zoho (after Pirate Dave's positive comments) so i'll have a read and see what's what.

        Its going to have to be a weekend job for me to migrate my main email over so once i've finished pondering, i'll get myself a plan and tell the missus I need a day or so to migrate.

        I guess, and I came to this conclusion a while ago, that I am going to have to start paying for stuff like this which I have had from free from ages ago. I already pay for O365 for the family, I pay for my VPN access, its just the way of the internet these days. I grew up expecting services for free :)

        I'm quite lucky in that I don't have many G services (android phones / Play store purchases) tied to my login, well, I have a few but i'll just have to bite the bullet on them and call it quits.

        1. EnviableOne Silver badge

          Re: Just great.

          if you're using less then 5 accounts: Zoho have a forever free tier, I have been using it for many donkeys, the family all have accounts and saves them having to change addresses.

          Zoho support + addressing and have a great process for setting up security too.

        2. Pirate Dave Silver badge

          Re: Just great.

          "I'm quite lucky in that I don't have many G services (android phones / Play store purchases) tied to my login, well, I have a few but i'll just have to bite the bullet on them and call it quits."

          Yeah, if I move my main domain to Zoho (highly likely, unless Google recants), I'm wondering how that's going to affect my Samsung phone once Google pulls the plug on my account this summer. I've only got 2 or 3 paid-for apps on it, so I'm not terribly worried about that. But I am wondering if Android itself is going to get massive heartburn once the account is no longer valid. Or worse, the phone will basically wipe itself and I'll have to start pretty much from scratch again - contacts, text messages, pics, etc.

          I'm not planning to move the main stuff to Zoho until the last possible minute, in hopes that Google will reverse their decision and save us a great deal of grief. The Zoho setup for my secondary domain only took about an hour, and most of that was waiting for the new SPF to propagate. I didn't use their "login to Godaddy's admin panel" wizard, I did things manually, but they tell you exactly what to put in the TXT and MX records (even DKIM, which I'd never setup before), so it's almost insultingly easy. I've not migrated email out of Gmail before, so I have no idea if Google lets that go quickly, or if they hit you with bandwidth throttling after a certain amount of data. But I've only got 1.5 Gigs of old email stuff, so hopefully they don't consider that "a lot" of data.

          I paid Zoho the $15 for a year's service for the secondary domain, even though I'll probably never actually use it for email. IMHO, it was worth the small $ since this was the "test" for the main domain, and allowed me to skirt having to do anything drastic to the main domain. I admit, I started out thinking I was going to move the main domain yesterday, but got cold feet early in the process, and was worried that if I screwed something up, my email would be crapped-out for a day or two. That's when I came up with the idea of using the other domain to test with and leaving the main domain untouched. (sometimes I DO get good ideas right before things go very badly...). I needn't have worried, though, as the signup process was non-destructive, but you never know until you've gone through it once.

          1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

            Re: Just great.

            > I have no idea if Google lets that go quickly, or if they hit you with bandwidth throttling after a certain amount of data

            FWIW, my 15GB mailbox took about 4 hours - not lightning fast but not terribly slow either.

            Just in case noone else has linked it, there's a small possibility of a u-turn: https://twitter.com/RonAmadeo/status/1486407745867849728

            1. Pirate Dave Silver badge

              Re: Just great.

              Yeah, that does look like Google is squirming a little. Good.

              15 GB in 4 hours isn't too bad. That's a "start it before going to bed" kind of thing. Did you use the IMAP option or the "login to Google" option?

    3. blackbat

      Re: Just great.

      I'm in the same boat, but with my domain hosted elsewhere for a tenner a year and MX records pointing to Gmail. What I'll do is use the free Gmail account I still have from 2012, repoint the MX records to where my domain is hosted and use my hosting service's free email redirection to forward emails to my old gmail account.

    4. adam.c

      Re: Just great.

      +1 for Zoho also. Migrated a friends gmail account on a vanity domain a few months ago when they wanted two distinct inboxes/addresses on the domain - so creative things with rules and sent-as aliasing was too complicated for them.

      Tools for automatic inbox migration via imap just worked and then it was just various bits of MX record correction and other account setup like SPF. But as instructions were pretty good it all seemed to just work

    5. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: binning Google Services

      Just do it. The more people that reduce their dependency on Google the better IMHO.

      Far too many people are locked into their stuff. A lot of that is because they make it so easy to get in.

      Google... the IT version of Hotel California.

    6. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: Just great.

      being at the mercy of Virgin Media reliability. :)

      If you don't have a vermin media business connection you may well find that a lot of endpoints will refuse your outgoing emails - a lot of the appliances and firewalls will check to see whether the connection is coming from a home IP address and refuse it.

      Which is why I pay extra for a business-class line from Zen - not only do they not play silly games with filtering and billing but they are actually useful if something goes wrong.

      (I host a few domains for email purposes - friends and family mostly)

  5. JDX Gold badge

    Bit of a faff

    I own 2 of these free GSuite (for business?) organisations. Problem as I se it is that gmail is still THE best mail interface - even if you don't use the other apps.

    CAn you get a 1-person vanity gmail (link to your domain for a single user) cheaper or are the only choices free / Workplace now?

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Bit of a faff

      Gmail definitely has the best spam shield. Uncannily correct with its discrimination.

    2. John Robson Silver badge

      Re: Bit of a faff

      You could always set up a dumb forwarder to a gmail account and use the "send as" option...

    3. anothercynic Silver badge

      Re: Bit of a faff

      Same here. Same here... I've yet to receive any notification.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Gotta disagree on the Gmail interface

      They literally draw a box on the window which is not in fact a window but looks like a window.

      It doesn't work like a window.

      That's a UI autofail. The layout is also crap since they crowbarred the sidebar and Google Chat stuff in there. I have to scroll to see the virtual folders because the other garbage in the side bar can't be removed even if you don't use it.

      There are many crap webmail UIs out there, and few non webmail options other then the (evil) iPhone mail client and Outlook, which are also terrible.

      That dosen't mean Gmail is going to make it over the bar, at least if that is set to "Good".

      It used to be OK, which while faint praise still made it relatively one of the best. It just keeps getting objectively worse over time.

      And while they give it away for "free" no one else can even get off the ground before they go bankrupt.

      But hey, if you like it, don't let any of that stop you. I pretty much hate it but I still use it all day.

  6. stimpy
    Unhappy

    Migration of Apps and Movies

    I've had a free Google Apps (G Suite Legacy) account for probably 15 yrs now and accumulated numerous paid-for apps, movies etc using the account. The worst thing here is not that Google want to charge for a previously free service, but that there is no way of moving my purchases to a new free gmail account. So the options are either to pay the ~£4/mo/user (so nearly £200/year for a family of four) or to lose everything previously bought on the account. This just seems massively unfair. I've not had the email from Google yet, maybe it hasn't reached UK users yet?

    1. Cleverfiend
      Thumb Down

      Re: Migration of Apps and Movies

      Exactly this. I've probably got 15 years worth of apps and media purchases. It's been my primary Google account so also linked to Google's remote phone locking/wiping service. You can only get so much of your data with Google Takeout and Google is being disingenuous to suggest otherwise...

      1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

        Re: Migration of Apps and Movies

        Looks like they're not going to lock us out of stuff like Play

        > If you don’t upgrade to a Google Workspace subscription, you will not lose access to other Google Services, including YouTube, Google Photos, and Google Play, nor paid content, including YouTube and Play Store purchases.

        They've done a crap job of making that clear though, I only noticed the FAQ's by chance - the statements they've made in the main documents are a bit wishy-washy and unclear

        1. Fuzz

          Re: Migration of Apps and Movies

          I don't understand what Google are saying here. The only way I can understand this working is if the accounts are converted to a standard Google account without email. If that's what's going to happen then Google should say so and we can get to work on migrating our email out to a different system.

    2. roblightbody

      Re: Migration of Apps and Movies

      In exactly the same boat here.

      I thought I was a UK user until I went to try to upgrade this afternoon, when I discovered at some point in the past they've defaulted me to USA, and you can *never* change it again. So I'm screwed. You should check yours, you might discover upgrading isn't possible, like i've just done.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Migration of Apps and Movies

        Back up your data with the tool, then wait for the EU class action lawsuit. It will suck while the case is in court, but you can probably make them eat a settlement, damages, and force them to build a tool to re-upload your mail to boot.

        Over here we will just be able to watch you eat their lunch in court and stand around looking hungry.

  7. Gene Cash Silver badge

    This is why I've moved away from gmail

    On the advice of fellow commentards, I've moved to a paid service, and it's far better than Google.

    I originally got worried when they started the "real names only" policy and demanded highly-private documentation from users, which I certainly wasn't going to supply. PAPERS PLEASE!

    Then I realized that Google are just dicks that don't care about anything but the ad money, and certainly not about their users.

    Then I saw just how many things Google tossed to the wayside, and decided to get out while the getting was good and I could plan an orderly transition. Now my gmail account is just read to see who I've forgotten to update, or as a trash address to give people.

    1. Pirate Dave Silver badge

      Re: This is why I've moved away from gmail

      Might I ask - what is the paid service you moved to, and does it support vanity domains?

      1. Gene Cash Silver badge

        Re: This is why I've moved away from gmail

        I went to fastmail.com, which is rather generic. I don't know if they do vanity domains.

  8. NOTOK

    I switched my domain to to iCloud+ custom email domains, 50GB: £0.79 a month.

    Each person in your Family Sharing group can have up to three email addresses per domain.

    Email works fine, problem solved. Most iphone people probably have it already to store photos anyway.

    AWS mail is about the same cost as the G Workspace subscription.

    1. AskJarv

      I'm curious - can you have more than one domain with this service (e.g. mydomain.com and mydomain.co.uk)?

      Looking at the pricing, the Apple one has Microsoft and Google beat if all I want is just email with a personal domain name... But if it is inflexible I might regret the move...

    2. Quando

      That looks nice, but then all the nice multi-label GMail features get lost don't they? And would it import 15+ years of email?

  9. Peter 26
    Unhappy

    Give us an easy migration Google

    I've been meaning to move away from Workplace for years due to being blocked from so many google features. I can't use the camera on my Google Hub as it's disabled for Workplace customers. When checking my doorbell I'm nagged constantly by Nest to move my account to google, but every time I try it says I can't as it isn't supported under Workplace accounts. I can't install apps on my phone from the web as this is disabled for workplaces.

    When they started Google Apps for Domains they didn't know what their target market was and aimed at families. I get it that the world has moved on and actually they need to aim it at businesses now. Why can't they do both and allow from options to choose family/business setup so I can use the features blocked for businesses and I'll happily give them money for it...

    I have no issue with paying for the services, I just happily paid up for a years worth of Google Drive storage space for my photos.

    What I am annoyed about is the lack of migration options, and this is the reason I haven't moved yet. There is no way to move my subscriptions over. All those Apps I've bought, the annual subscriptions to Strava etc. and recently Goole Drive. I'll need to move my mum & dad to another account too (Argh, I just realised this will be the worst part.)

    If anyone from Google is reading, I just want to flick a switch and turn my me@domain.com account to a standard gmail one with the same login and keep everything except the Workplace features. Why can't you do that? What is the reason?

    Even better, let me give you money to host my email without adverts and use a custom domain without signing up to Workplace.

    Google, you invited us in, now you are kicking us out, at least let us take our stuff.

    1. Pirate Dave Silver badge
      Pirate

      Re: Give us an easy migration Google

      "If anyone from Google is reading, I just want to flick a switch and turn my me@domain.com account to a standard gmail one with the same login and keep everything except the Workplace features."

      Exactly this. I'd gladly pay Google $25/year for this (provided they let us keep the catch-all processing).

    2. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Give us an easy migration Google

      > If anyone from Google is reading, I just want to flick a switch and turn my me@domain.com account to a standard gmail one with the same login and keep everything except the Workplace features. Why can't you do that? What is the reason?

      This.

      Namecheap has a free email forwarding service that seems to support wildcards. I'll be using this to forward emails to a new email address.

      ( Google haven't even told me about this yet ).

      1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge

        Re: Give us an easy migration Google

        4 days later, still no notification from Google.

  10. excession
    Facepalm

    Plus addresses

    This is a giant fucking pain in the arse!!

    I am a big fan of gmail plus addresses… eg user+variable@domain.com

    Most services I have signed up for in the last few years use plus addresses with my custom domain email address. Odds of those getting migrated over to any other service??? I’m going for ZEROOOO

    1. Pirate Dave Silver badge

      Re: Plus addresses

      Microsoft has been making a big faff recently about their coming support for plus addressing in O365. I think it starts in March. I wasn't sure what it was at first, until the boss filled me in.

      1. Rob Daglish Bronze badge

        Re: Plus addresses

        I've had some custom rewrite rules on O365 that have done this for a good few years now - I'll take a look at it when it goes live.

    2. EnviableOne Silver badge

      Re: Plus addresses

      Zoho support plus addressing

  11. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    And this is what happens when

    people only use "free" and then are stupid enough to store their data on machines that someone else owns.

    1. excession

      Re: And this is what happens when

      Is it?

      I can migrate my data easily enough.

      What I can’t migrate are the services and functionality linked to that email address.

      It’s those I’m worried about.

      1. Nate Amsden Silver badge

        Re: And this is what happens when

        Never having used this service, but it seems most people here are complaining about using custom domains and now will have to pay up for them. In your case if you just move your custom domain email hosting to another provider wouldn't all the services tied to those email addresses just move along with it? Not as if the services care what provider you use for your email assuming you have a custom domain anyway(or vanity domain as others seem to be using that term).

        I have hosted my own email on my own systems for closing in on nearly 25 years now. Past 15ish years have been on servers in co-location, before that I hosted it at home for several years when I had DSL and a bunch of static IPs, and before that I helped run a tiny ISP back in the 90s that had a T1 and hosted my email there.

        According to my postfix config I have over 550 different email addresses tied to various domains, typically one email address per organization(I gave up on wildcard email matching 15 years ago too much spam). I use Cyrus IMAP and have email delivered directly to various inboxes, which I can then subscribe to with my IMAP client if I want to see those emails. Then I can unsubscribe to them, the email can continue to flow to the destination I just don't see it unless I subscribe to the folder again, I like how that works. But of course doing things this way isn't the right way for most people.

        I'm still trying to keep popcorn fresh for when google clamps down on abusers of their online storage. I have come across multiple posts with people claiming to be hosting 100TB+ on google drive for free or for a few bucks a month, and others asking questions like where can they find multiple TBs of storage online for free. It's just insane the sense of entitlement some folks have. I see one post here from last year someone claiming to have 2 PETABYTES on a gsuite business drive and is worried they would have to cut some of that storage down they claimed to have only 800 TERABYTES of personal data.

        1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

          Re: And this is what happens when

          > In your case if you just move your custom domain email hosting to another provider wouldn't all the services tied to those email addresses just move along with it?

          No, you're thinking services as in "I signed up to Facebook with this email", but that's not what we're concerned about (as you say, those don't really care)

          It's stuff linked to the underlying Google account that's the issue - so stuff where you've used Single Sign On, your Android phone etc. Google drive documents will be a pain for some too.

          Worst of all, Google don't provide a means to migrate Play purchases to another account, so any money spent on Apps/Media is essentially pissed up the wall.

          Having had AfD for about 15 years, there's potentially a lot to unpick, and not that much time to do it.

          1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge

            Re: And this is what happens when

            Oh great. I forgot about all that.

    2. Pirate Dave Silver badge
      Pirate

      Re: And this is what happens when

      Man, I fought the on-prem email demons for years. Blacklists, open proxies, directory digging/walking, constant door-knocking on the mail server and firewall. Nah, IMHO it's worth it to let all that stuff be Someone Else's problem (hopefully somebody better trained at it than me...).

  12. Korgonzolla

    Signed up for this in 2007, so annoyed it's coming to a relatively sudden end. I only used the email functionality, so I've been exploring the options today:

    1) Custom domain allowed in Office365 family. Already have a subscription, but the two drawbacks are: only one custom email address per family user, need to move my domain registrar to GoDaddy.

    2) Cloudflare Email Routing - involves moving DNS records to Cloudflare, but that is no issue. Currently in beta, but people appear to get access quite quickly. No idea if and when they might start charging for it.

    3) Zoho Email. €1.13 per user per month for custom domain email with 50GB mailbox. Reports on the mobile app and web interface are largely positive.

    It's a rather petty little thing, but I'm involved in a tender at the moment for a >10000 employee firm who are deciding on which cloud provider to move to. Google were unlikely to win anyway, but my scoring will reflect my personal annoyance at this decision.

  13. Claverhouse Silver badge
    Facepalm

    E Pluribus Unum

    ...tailored to the unique needs of our broad range of customers, ...

    You what ?

    Rather like having mass exclusiveness...

  14. Pirate Dave Silver badge
    Pint

    Zoho email

    My apologies for being all over this forum today. It's hard to "lose" your main email address after 16 years without feeling like you have to DO SOMETHING NOW!

    I've setup one of my domains in Zoho, and it seems pretty sweet. Setup was simple, even though I did everything (SPF, dkim, mx, etc) manually instead of letting them login to my GoDaddy account and pull it directly. Their web email interface is decent, a little cluttered compared to Gmail, but definitely modern looking (well, maybe late-noughties modern).

    Setting up a catch-all was as brain-dead simple as it is in Gmail, not complicated like the how-to's I read about doing it in O365. I didn't previously have email setup in the domain I used, so I can't vouch for whether their email-migration tool works or not, nor have I tried setting up any filters, which I use extensively in the gmail account for my main domain. Their account settings page looks to have plenty of knobs and buttons to tweak for various mail processing things.

    So $15 for a year's use is very palatable, imho. Plus, they take Paypal, so I didn't even have to expose a credit card number.

    I think I can live happily at Zoho for a while. Thanks to those of you who suggested it earlier today. Have one on me ->

    1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

      Re: Zoho email

      I've gone the Zoho route as well - migrated us over today.

      No real gotchas other than finding their docs for migrating Drive into WorkDrive miss an important thing (search for today's post on my site if you want/need to know more).

      Also, I noticed something in Google's docs on upgrading to Workspace

      > If you don’t upgrade to a Google Workspace subscription, you will not lose access to other Google Services, including YouTube, Google Photos, and Google Play, nor paid content, including YouTube and Play Store purchases.

      It's buried in the FAQ section at the bottom.

      So, good news, we're not (yet) going to be cheated out of our Play store purchases!

      1. Pirate Dave Silver badge
        Pirate

        Re: Zoho email

        That is good news. Thanks Ben.

      2. Peter 26

        Re: Zoho email

        Good find. So that just means we lose gmail with custom domain? How would that work in practice though? You'd still need to login to youtube and photos etc. to use the subscription which is using our @domain.com account... This is making me wonder if actually this is the dream scenario, our account just gets moved to a normal google account and we get to keep our standard logins me@domain.com, but lose the workspace features I don't care about anyway...

        I've already got a setup with https://hanami.run/ as the mail server and using a normal gmail account with the pop3 from hanami and send as my own domain name setup in gmail. But I'm starting to wonder if they will let us keep our gmail accounts with the custom domain, as how else can they give us access to all our purchases and subscriptions?

        I might just wait and see with this one, it might not be as bad as we thought. Google haven't even contacted me to let me know yet either.

  15. Barry Rueger

    Fool me once....

    Suspended accounts can be revived with a subscription fee, an arrangement that may sound like a ransomware operation but is really just business as usual.

    My rule is simple: if it's something I actually need, and is not insanely overpriced (Cough... PhotoShop) I pay for it. That reassures me that the thing I need will still be there next week or next year. Leaving aside the reality that tech companies are really pretty scummy and routinely disappear with no warning,

    For everything else it's a one shot thing. If I really need it I might register and create a password, but if you demand a credit card number you're out of luck,

    The crazy thing is that there are services like Twitter that I would happily pay a monthly subscription if it meant that they would eliminate the spam ... um ...Promoted Tweets, but they refuse to sell me that option. And yeah, if your site or app buries me in advertising you can be sure I won't pay for it.

    1. DoctorPaul

      Re: Fool me once....

      You mean like I paid for Office 2010 and now it won't activate after a rebuild?

  16. teledyn

    What does 'not ever' mean?

    "Furthermore, organizations that sign up during the beta period will not ever have to pay for users accepted during that period (provided Google continues to offer the service)"

    That was the original Google bait they used on me 16 years ago.

    If this isn't a #ransomwareattack it's a pretty malicious #baitandswitch - last month they offered me a 'free' online shop site. Knowing what I know now...

    This is their post from Aug 2016: https://t.co/qMa7nTzPcW

  17. EnviableOne Silver badge

    You can signup any time you like...

    But you can never leave

    All cloud providers are the same, getting info in is easy, getting it back out is a PITA!

  18. Pirate Dave Silver badge
    Pirate

    Feedback to Google

    I've seen recommendations in Google's forums to use the "Send Feedback" link to let Google know how we feel about this. I've done so, and told them in quite plain language that if they continue down this path, I will leave their service completely and go to ZoHo. Maybe if enough of us complain, they'll reconsider, or at least come out with an email-only plan for much, much less than $72/year. Yeah, I still believe in the Tooth Fairy, too.

    The Send Feedback link is in the Help menu (the "?" with the circle around it, which I've never used until today)

  19. irrelevant

    Notice?

    I've seen a lot of coverage on this, on the tech sites, twitter, etc,, but nobody has admitted to receiving any notice. I've not.

    I'm in same boat, used it since 2006, as do my entire family across multiple domains on two Google Apps for Domains.. It was marketed at us! And because its easy, I have extra accounts for seldom monitored things, not just one per person. Pay-per-account will hit us hard. I'm paying per month for extra storage on a couple of the accounts, but nowhere near that much.

    I'm dreading losing the android logins, though I think most stuff the Mrs has bought has been against her Hotmail.com Google account thankfully. If I can't migrate the workspace based accounts to such a third-party-address based Google accounts I'll be pissed!

    I'm already hosting some services in house, and was looking at dropping my paid Web hosting, using the savings on a second Internet link for resilience, so this is making me think quite hard about running my own mail servers again too. Anybody got any suggestions on that side.

    1. Fuzz

      Re: Notice?

      I also haven't received a notice or seen anyone who has said specifically that they have received a notice. I wonder, are Google trying to shed some bigger accounts by announcing this through the press.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Notice?

        I am also one of earlier adopters of Google Apps for Domains for the family and have not yet had any communication about this upgrade. Most of us already pay for additional drive storage so we are not entirely "freeloaders". We would all be using personal accounts if had not been suggested years ago that Google App for Domains was good for families. I don’t think my family users would be happy about moving to a different email platform.

        The FAQ says: "If you don’t upgrade to a Google Workspace subscription, you will not lose access to other Google Services, including YouTube, Google Photos, and Google Play, nor paid content, including YouTube and Play Store purchases."

        It has been suggested that this will be done by changing the suite to the "Cloud Identity Free edition" service that allows access to all services except gmail, calendar and the extra features of workspace. Some commenters report that after conversion to Workspace “Cloud Free Identify" can be added. I am going to wait for more information before I try anything!

        Microsoft 365 Family doesn’t seem to have considered that children become adults and leave home but might want to keep their email and identity “ 5 other people in your household". iCloud+ looks more promising for some, but we are not all iPhone users.

        It is all annoying.

  20. Gene Cash Silver badge

    Class-action lawsuit inbound

    https://www.androidpolice.com/google-gsuite-free-legacy-class-action-investigation/

    Google could face class action lawsuit over free G Suite legacy account shutdown

    "If the name sounds familiar, that's because we've covered the firm before. They're the company that sued Google for the Nexus 6P's early shutdown and bootlooping issues, the Nexus 5X's bootloops, the 2016 Pixel's microphone problems, and the more Pixel 3 news. You may also know them from the Nintendo Joy-Con drift class-action — it's a well-known firm for these big tech class action lawsuits. And now they've set their sights on Google's legacy G Suite shutdown."

    They haven't filed yet.

  21. Sam Crawley

    Google Home

    Of course another unintended consequence the beancounters won't have modelled is that this will hit Google Home device investments, although to be honest the Home / Nest integration with GSuite services has always been a bit hit and miss. I was starting to hand out Google Displays to extended family to share photos from Google Photos but I will now look for another way to accomplish that.

  22. Slick2097

    Jumpy McJumpFace

    I appreciate some people are waiting to see what happens here with Google but I decided to jump.

    I transferred my .co.uk from google domains to NameCheap (free transfer, and the renewal price is cheaper than Google Domains as well when that rolls around to renewal date), signed up for the Zoho free forever email platform because I only needed the one address with the catch-all sending everything else to it.

    Pretty straight forward, followed the instructions on Zoho to modify the MX and add the other gubbins needed on Namecheap. Also enabled IMAP for my google account, this requires 2fa to work, and asked Zoho to migrate the email over. Migration took about 4 hours for my just over 2GB of email. It even copied over the labels to put the emails back in to folders for me.

    I'm quite happy to use the Zoho mobile apps to manage my email on my phone, webmail on PC is also perfectly adequate for me so all in all, i'm happy with it so far.

  23. overscannz

    I work in the IT Industry. SIgned up to the Free Apps for Domains purely so I could use my personal domain with gmail for me and the wife. It worked well. So well, I recommended it to other people. When the free version finished, I recommended people needing email for business to sign up and pay for it. Google have received a lot of business from me.

    I pay for extra storage for my account for Google Drive.

    The ideal soluition would be for my Workplace organisation to be converted to standard gmail accounts in a family group, so I could sign up for Google One to pay for more storage we could share.

    Here's an idea - give Google One customers on higher tiers the ability to use a custom email domain for their family group. I'd pay for that.

  24. steviebuk Silver badge

    Draw them in until they can't do without

    All the big players do this because they can take the hit. Pull you in for long enough that you now can't do without before withdrawing the "free" option.

    I was paying for 3 users for GSuite as I wanted to still keep in the know on how to manage it after leaving somewhere that used it. Never been a fan for paying for online storage so always avoided and backup to local HDDs that sit in a fireproof box. Anyway, I then noticed for a few pounds extra a month I could keep one user and get unlimited HDD space if I upgraded to GSuite Business so I did. Deleted the other 2. I now had cloud backup storage, unlimited cheaper than the just cloud storage offerings from Google themselves, Amazon and Microsoft. Was going to do an article on it, how it was cheaper to buy the domain name, hosting and with the knowledge to setup GSuit you had all that space.

    Then a few months later they said they were rebranding to Google Workspace and all the packages were changing. Anyone new wouldn't be able to get the same packages. This was shocking just from a consultant point of view (I'm not one). There was no warning so if you'd just sold a company the business solution then you now had to tell them, they can use it with the unlimited space but in a few months time they'll be forced to the corporate package costing a hell of a lot more.

    I finally got my notice about a month ago that I would be forced to the new rebrand of gsuite and based on my usaged I'd be moved to the appropriate package. Which would of been for one user using unlimited space, the corporate package. Fuck that, I'm not paying for that high charge that would of been. Deleted all the back ups and cancelled my sub.

  25. Pirate Dave Silver badge
    Pirate

    Got the notification!

    I finally got my "[Action Required] Upgrade to a Google Workspace subscription" notification email today. There wasn't any wavering to Google's resolve in the email, so I guess the Countdown To Zoho has begun.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022