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Google to free G Suite users: Pay or lose your account

A suggested and suggested version of the Google logo.
Enlarge / An artist's rendering of Google's current reputation.

Google says the free ride is over for early users of the company's custom domain G Suite service. Google has long offered a service that lets you use Google apps on a custom domain so you can have a Google email address ending in your domain instead of "" For the first six years of service, the basic level allowed you to set up a custom domain account for free. Now you have to pay for the privilege of using a custom domain with a Google Account. Google disabled the ability to create these accounts for free in 2012, but it would not take accounts from existing users, right?

It would.

Since 9to5Google was the first to report, Google will shut down free G Suite accounts if the account holder does not switch to a payment account. Google sends out emails to users of "G Suite legacy free edition" accounts telling them they have until July 1st to start paying. A support page describes how this process will work. From May 1, Google will try to automatic "upgrade" users to a paid account if it has billing information available. If there is no such information before July, accounts will be "suspended". After 60 days, these accounts lose access to "core" Google services like Gmail and Calendar.

Google's Custom Domain started in 2006 as "Google Apps for Your Domain." The service has undergone a lot of name changes since then - "Google Apps for Work," then "G Suite" and now "Google Workspace" - but the setup has always been the same: You get Gmail and other Google apps, but they are tailored to your business, giving them a more professional look than a email address. Today, the service starts at $ 6 per. user per month, with higher levels available for higher inventory needs. From 2006 to 2012, the basic level was free.

The billing section of tells you what type of G Suite account you have.
Enlarge / The billing section of tells you what type of G Suite account you have.

Lee Hutchinson

These users did nothing wrong when they signed up for G Suite's basic level years ago, so it's hard to see Google pull the rug out from under them like this. You trust Google and store all your data with the company, and you assume that the basic terms of your account will at least be the same forever. However, Google changes the deal for these people and tells them that they have to start paying, otherwise they will lose their account.

Google notes that customers can use Google Takeout to export some data, but if you do not want to pay, it's a lot of work to rebuild an account under a Google consumer account. These were mostly fully functional Google accounts and there is no way to export things like content purchases to books, movies, music and apps. You'll probably lose your Google Voice number too. If you used your G Suite account this way, you will have little choice but to start paying. It would have been nice to see the company go the extra mile and offer users an easy way to transfer their data to a free consumer account with a new email address. But Google does not.

If you've somehow unsure of the status of your Google Business account, try going to the 'Billing' page at If you see a message about being on a "G Suite legacy" account, you can expect an email soon describing how you'll be affected by the change. If you got your Google Apps account through some kind of bundled service, such as a domain hosting site, you would probably want to check with it.

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