Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Google Thanks Procrastinators With Free G Suite Accounts for Non-Commercial Use

Earlier this year, Google announced it would be transitioning “legacy” free G Suite users to paid Google Workspace plans. To its credit, Google’s plans are reasonably priced and it offered a further discount. Unfortunately, the way it handled this transition was a mess.

Ron Amadeo, Ars Technica:

Users being hit by the shutdown faced two options: either suddenly start paying for their accounts, which had been free for years, or lose access to core Workspace apps like Gmail. Users who didn’t want to pay could only export data with Google Takeout, which would download some account data that would become a bunch of cumbersome, local files. Takeout was a terrible option because it makes it difficult to get your data back in the cloud, and you can’t export things like purchased content from Google Play or YouTube.

Google added options to help users transition purchased materials to a standard Google account. But many users of the legacy G Suite offering are individuals and families who just wanted to connect a personal domain to an email provider. There are now many options open to these users at similar price points — Fastmail, ProtonMail, and even Apple have custom domain options — but this sort of thing is just enough of an irritation that it would be nice to avoid it.

I am one of those people. I have had this on my Things “Today” list for months now because I do not understand the concept of today and I do not want to deal with my DNS. I should move things off Google entirely, but its G Suite offerings generally have better privacy protections than its consumer accounts. Plus, I do not want to lose access to Mimestream, a Gmail client I think is the best email app for MacOS.

It turns out my procrastination has been rewarded. Google has updated its transition document to say users like me can retain our free accounts if they are for personal use (via Steve Whitcher):

If you’re using the G Suite legacy free edition for non-commercial purposes, you can opt out of the transition to Google Workspace by clicking here (requires a super administrator account) or going to the Google Admin console. You can continue using your custom domain with Gmail, retain access to no-cost Google services such as Google Drive and Google Meet, and keep your purchases and data.

You will need to take these steps by August 1. Google advises contacting its support team if you are not a procrastinator and already paid to upgrade.

I suppose this is a good reminder that we should move things away from providers like Google who offered free services for a long time, since they are able to take that away at any time. It is unfortunate because Mimestream really is my favourite email application for the Mac, so I am probably going to forget about my own advice and forget about migrating until the next time Google pulls the rug out from under me.