back to article Google keeps legacy G Suite alive and free for personal use

Google has quietly dropped its demand that users of its free G Suite legacy edition cough up to continue enjoying custom email domains and cloudy productivity tools. This story starts in 2006 with the launch of “Google Apps for Your Domain”, a bundle of services that included email, a calendar, Google Talk, and a website …

  1. Peter Mount
    Happy

    I've already migrated

    As I only used it for email & didn't use any of the other services at the end of April I migrated away and I'm back running my own mail server.

    To be honest it's making things a bit easier and more flexible.

    1. Missing Semicolon Silver badge

      Re: I've already migrated

      How do you manage the spam? I would migrate away, but Gmail's spam filtering is really good.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        Re: I've already migrated

        There are many tools you can use to manage the spam on your mail sever, from reputation lists (IP, domains, etc.) to tools analyzing the messages themselves. You need to configure everything yourself, though.

        You will also need a "clean" IP to send mail and configure SPF/DKIM/DMARC to ensure the mail you send are better accepted, and less prone to be marked as spam. Nothing very difficult, but it may need some experience with mail servers configurations.

      2. DJV Silver badge

        Re: Gmail's spam filtering is really good

        With 'good' meaning 'way too overenthusiastic' - it puts almost everything into the spam folder, even when you've told it that it's NOT spam!

        1. Victor Ludorum

          Re: Gmail's spam filtering is really good

          I've noticed they are very fussy with SPF records. I've had various issued, including someone complain that I don't reply to their emails (because their SPF record is slightly wrong). I never even get the emails (not even in the Spam folder). They (and I) use Google Workspace...

    2. okand

      Re: I've already migrated

      I moved away too but I'm not enough of a masochist to host my own email so I went with purelymail.com instead. Just email, unlimited users and domains, and more flexibility in creating aliases for only $10 per year.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I've already migrated

      Me too. My 12 years of paying zero was not appreciated, so I took my custom elsewhere.

      1. HereIAmJH

        Re: I've already migrated

        It's not about being unappreciative of getting something for free. My biggest problem was with the part that I pay for. My domain registration is attached to my G-Suite. They had no problem transferring it over from GoDaddy when I set up G-Suite. But Google didn't offer any way to manage it after I shut off G-Suite. (you log into the management console with an email on your domain, that goes away when you kill your G-Suite subscription) They won't let you manage it from a GMail account. And then GoDaddy wants to charge you to transfer it back to GoDaddy from GoDaddy Wholesale so that I can pay for my renewals from my GoDaddy account.

        All I ever used G-Suite for was emails for my personal domain. I simply swapped my MX record to a forwarder, parked the domain, and actually have a better process set up with some filtering rules to handle multiple 'mailboxes'. The end result of dealing with customer support is I'll not be doing business with GoDaddy ever again and I'm evaluating my future business with Google. I have clients on Google Maps and I personally use Google Fiber. BTW, Google Domains support was down right rude.

        I signed up for the new personal G-Suite option, but only so I can manage my domain until I decide which registrar to switch to.

    4. Sampler

      Re: I've already migrated

      I've been using a basic free gmail account and then adding my domain addresses as alias's.

      Initially that meant an account on my webhost that gmail slurps from (deleting as it goes) but with cloudflares new (free) email routing that's no longer required and I can treat the gmail account as if it were a custom domain one (simply setting the custom domain account as default send).

      Can also manage multiple accounts under the one gmail, so I have the benefits of reliable storage, spam filtering and simple mobile app with push notifications, all for free, with very little set-up.

  2. Dan 55 Silver badge

    But for how long?

    This time next year it could be on the chopping block again. This is Google we're talking about.

    1. John Robson Silver badge

      Re: But for how long?

      Well, it's a been a signal to look at migrating... And to be honest if they could just get their act together and allow stuff to be migrated wholesale to personal gmail accounts there would be alot less kickback.

      If they can do that in the next twelve months, and then try again - I don't think there would be nearly as much wailing and gnashing of teeth.

  3. adfh

    So it does or doesn't include email now?

    1. katrinab Silver badge
      Meh

      It does include email.

      For me, changing the mx records to point to my self-hosted exchange server rather than google is not a big deal - a few seconds on OVH's control panel plus maybe a minute or so to set up the accounts on Exchange, then copy the old emails across to the new mailbox and change the account settings in all the email clients.

      I mostly use it for YouTube, so migrating all that across to a new gmail account is doable but much more of a pain.

      1. Victor Ludorum

        But many orgs (including GMail and Outlook) sinkhole OVH IP addresses for outgoing mail. How do you get round that?

        1. Julian Bradfield

          I haven't had a problem with gmail, but outlook has a hard-to-find and tedious process to get addresses de-blacklisted, which I've gone through three times recently, as I shifted both my main and backup servers to different providers. (Not OVH, as it happens.)

        2. katrinab Silver badge

          I'm only using OVH for DNS. The mail comes from a static IP address on BT/Plusnet.

    2. badflorist

      Apparently not, you keep everything but e-mail (unless maybe you were part of the beta program 15 years ago...???).

      If you've setup a mail domain and have used Docker before then "mailu" has some good options: https://setup.mailu.io/1.9/

      Allowing Google or anyone to siphon your MX is pretty crazy by today's standards and I'm surprised it isn't considered a red flag in security. Think about it... you care about 2FA and such but you're willing to let a 3rd party siphon a major authentication source... fuk'n nutz.

  4. thebadfallguy

    Not if you registered to upgrade...

    Stupidly, I registered to 'upgrade' to the paid account as I couldn't afford to lose my family's domain. Having done that, I now can't ask for the free edition. Bugger

    1. fitzpat

      Re: Not if you registered to upgrade...

      There are a number of reddit posts about talking to google support, either getting moved back to legacy, or charging $0 for workspace instead.

    2. Tech Hippy

      Re: Not if you registered to upgrade...

      Reach out to support (yeh I know, but it turned out to be pretty painless).

      I upgraded to the paid account also, however I reached out to Google support via chat session yesterday.

      After explaining the situation hey put me through to their Billing department who've moved me back across to this option once I'd confirmed it was for personal use only.

      The whole process took about 25 minutes and was surprisingly easy (unlike every other interaction I've had with Google support).

      1. G2
        Facepalm

        Re: Not if you registered to upgrade...

        i had also "upgraded" to Starter (in the early days of this month) and even foolishly decided to use the "pay early" option, to cover at least a year of service for my account, just to make sure that my domain keeps working

        (all my home utility bills are tied to dedicated email addresses in this domain, they are collected via a catch-all mail routing rule in a single account mailbox)

        i had to contact Google Support for going back to GSuite legacy and for getting a refund for that "pay early" rushed payment... but they didn't actually do anything yet for me :(

        They just told me i was added to a queue for GSuite legacy rollback and that i had to wait for them to get back to me and with that refund.

        I guess that means they are now flooded with requests for rollback from users... we'll have to wait and see...

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

    4. rlightbody

      Re: Not if you registered to upgrade...

      As mentioned in the support documents, you can use the chat box to reverse this - I did and it took about 30 seconds - its one of the pre-defined responses under "contact support" from the admin panel.

      1. thebadfallguy

        Re: Not if you registered to upgrade...

        Thanks for the tip -I have managed to switch back to the Free Edition, but you'd never know it from the email that they sent you!

  5. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Office 365 Family is $100/year ?

    Dear God, to think that LibreOffice is free.

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Office 365 Family is $100/year ?

      Still you get something more than LibreOffice. All depends on if LibreOffice is enough for you or not.

      1. Zippy´s Sausage Factory
        Unhappy

        Re: Office 365 Family is $100/year ?

        In my experience, all you get for your money is more crashes, more lost work, more frustration and more annoyance. Not worth the money any more.

        /edit: oh, and Access. Which was always the only bit of Office that was ever any good.

        1. matjaggard

          Re: Office 365 Family is $100/year ?

          Down voted because of the Access comment. That was awful.

          I have to say on a Mac I've been very happy with Libreoffice but then the Mac version of M$ Office is painfully bad so it's an easier win for free software.

    2. Mike007

      Re: Office 365 Family is $100/year ?

      Libreoffice does email hosting? News to me...

  6. Pirate Dave Silver badge
    Pirate

    Great

    Thank <deity> somebody at Google finally got some sense.

    And thank <deity> my laziness finally paid off, as I have done exactly squat to prepare for this other than formulate a vague plan to migrate to Zoho.com if needed.

  7. thejoelr

    And I develop more caution about Google products.

    I am a paying customer of workspace for my company and where I work. The first decision put the task of migrating my personal stuff away on my long-term radar. Backing out at the last minute really bothers me more. Why can't they make a business decision and either immediately fix a mistake or stick to it? I trust them less at this point, and would not be against moving my work accounts elsewhere. When will google stop shooting itself in the foot...

  8. rlightbody

    I set one of these up a long time ago for my sisters family (6 people) and that was going to be a lot of pain to sort out, or expensive and turn the family into a business for some reason...

    And for myself I set it up but I only have one user, and would love nothing better than to be allowed to convert it to a normal google account - if I could keep using my own domain. Would be happy to pay a reasonable amount for this.

  9. An_Old_Dog Bronze badge
    Coffee/keyboard

    Google Services

    come and go by random fiat. Is the convenience truly so great that it's worth the pain of an emergency data-migration-scramble when those services are killed off, or when the terms and conditions are changed?

    1. Pirate Dave Silver badge
      Pirate

      Re: Google Services

      I'm not disagreeing, but am asking philosophically - what other offerings (from other vendors) similar to Apps For Domains are still around and available after 15+ years? And for the people who migrated off Workspace since this story started back in January, how many of them are now on services that will be around in 15 more years?

      I migrated my secondary domain to Zoho back when all this started, but I have little confidence (or even expectation) that Zoho will still be around in 10 years. It will probably be sold off, rolled into something else, then quietly disappear.

      Not to give Google too much credit after all the carnage of side-projects they've binned in the past 10 years (I still miss their SMS query service), and their generally creepy spy-on-everything culture, but they did a pretty good job keeping Apps for Domains and its decendants up and available for us moochers to continue to use. What they'll do going forward remains to be seen, and this whole dust-up does show some cracks in their resolve. But, eh, what other good, long-term options are out there? I would _never_ use Office365 for this kind of thing (personal domain), as it's too expensive, and I deal with it at work and loathe their constant mucking-about with it and breaking/changing things for no good reason other than "new shiny-shiny better".

      1. An_Old_Dog Bronze badge
        Boffin

        Google / Office365 Alternatives

        Everybody's got their own preferences, but I just do not host my docs on some-one/some-company else's computers.

        If I want to remotely work on a doc on my home PC, I RDP into my home PC over SSH. If I want to work on a doc simultaneously with someone else, then that doc will a text doc (not a binary and/or proprietary-format doc), and that's what SCCS/RCS/CVS/Subversion, et. al. are for. (Git is not so good for individual files, as it's oriented to file-set changes.)

        1. Pirate Dave Silver badge
          Pirate

          Re: Google / Office365 Alternatives

          "Everybody's got their own preferences, but I just do not host my docs on some-one/some-company else's computers."

          Oh, I'm in total agreement there. I've never used Docs or GoogleDrive in any significant way. I was more referring to the email service that's part of Google Workspaces. That's the only component of the entire offering that I really use, and it has worked pretty well for my needs since 2006.

  10. UserFire43

    What services do you lose?

    Do you lose any of the basics, google drive, docs, calendar? Or all stays the same

    1. Pirate Dave Silver badge

      Re: What services do you lose?

      Looks like it's all still there - docs and drive still work, and the other stuff is still in the menu, so guessing it all still works as well.

  11. 2+2=5 Silver badge
    Boffin

    Infinitely!

    > But the price is hard to beat, and infinitely lower than the $99.99 annual fee Microsoft charges for Office 365 Family

    Surely it is merely $99.99 lower?

  12. Willie T

    Free lunch?

    Why does everyone on the Internet insist on services they get being free? You all realize that even with free services the company providing them is getting something in return from you.

    Yahoo mail is my “junk mail”, it is my oldest mailbox (dating back to mid 90s) and I use it exclusively for things that require an email address and I don’t want to give out one of my other ones. Still, I pay $20 a year for the “ad free” version so I can read it from my favorite email client.

    Same as paying for an annual O365 family subscription - I’d rather give someone a small amount of $ and know what the cost is vs. getting something for free and wondering what I gave up in the terms of service.

    1. Missing Semicolon Silver badge

      Re: Free lunch?

      Because google services aren't free. You just don't pay with money.

      You pay with lovely information instead.

    2. Pirate Dave Silver badge

      Re: Free lunch?

      Doesn't MS scan emails in O365 pretty much the same as Google does in Gmail? I thought that was how their "clutter" thing worked (and also why it's such a black-box).

  13. DM2012

    Too late.

    Literally 3 days after I migrated my family mail, contacts and calendars to Fastmail.

    I've just seen too many Google services come and go, and while gmail was lovely while it lasted for me, it's too much of a hard dependency for me to rely on the whims of the marketing and finance departments of a conglomerate in terms of what they whether they want to continue a free product.

    I guess I can continue to use G as an SSO provider for the time being, but am slowly going through my various services to ensure I have an email-based backup login, in case they decide to pull the pin on that service as well

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