Google keeps legacy G Suite alive and free for personal use

Phew!


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 building tool. Beta users were offered the service at no cost, complete with the ability to use a custom domain if users let Google handle their MX record.

The service evolved over the years and added more services, and in 2020 Google rebranded its online productivity offering as “Workspace”. Beta users got most of the updated offerings at no cost.

Then in January 2022 Google warned users who scored free access that time was up: by midyear they’d need to either pay for a Workspace, or put themselves on a waitlist for a free service that offered all the same features they’d enjoyed for years – other than using custom mail domains.

The prospect of a cloudy migration was not something users found appetising.

Matters were made worse by Google dangling a vague promise of ongoing free service, but without explanation of its features or how long users could be on a waitlist before the new service kicked in.

Those worries are now history as Google quietly updated a support document with news that it’s added an option to “Stay on the no-cost legacy G Suite” provided the suite is used for personal purposes only.

Your correspondent has used that migration tool and can report it’s a one-click process after which – mercifully – nothing changes. All data and email accounts remain in place, without disruption.

Users aren’t completely out of the woods as if they don’t choose the free personal option by August 1st, 2022, they may lose access and data.

The service is still modest – each of the allowed ten users gets 15GB of cloud storage and basic document editing and collaboration services.

But the price is hard to beat, and infinitely lower than the $99.99 annual fee Microsoft charges for Office 365 Family, the product often suggested as an easy replacement for legacy G Suite. ®


Other stories you might like

  • Google battles bots, puts Workspace admins on alert
    No security alert fatigue here

    Google has added API security tools and Workspace (formerly G-Suite) admin alerts about potentially risky configuration changes such as super admin passwords resets.

    The API capabilities – aptly named "Advanced API Security" – are built on top of Apigee, the API management platform that the web giant bought for $625 million six years ago.

    As API data makes up an increasing amount of internet traffic – Cloudflare says more than 50 percent of all of the traffic it processes is API based, and it's growing twice as fast as traditional web traffic – API security becomes more important to enterprises. Malicious actors can use API calls to bypass network security measures and connect directly to backend systems or launch DDoS attacks.

    Continue reading
  • FTC urged to probe Apple, Google for enabling ‘intense system of surveillance’
    Ad tracking poses a privacy and security risk in post-Roe America, lawmakers warn

    Democrat lawmakers want the FTC to investigate Apple and Google's online ad trackers, which they say amount to unfair and deceptive business practices and pose a privacy and security risk to people using the tech giants' mobile devices.

    US Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Cory Booker (D-NJ) and House Representative Sara Jacobs (D-CA) requested on Friday that the watchdog launch a probe into Apple and Google, hours before the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, clearing the way for individual states to ban access to abortions. 

    In the days leading up to the court's action, some of these same lawmakers had also introduced data privacy bills, including a proposal that would make it illegal for data brokers to sell sensitive location and health information of individuals' medical treatment.

    Continue reading
  • W3C overrules objections by Google, Mozilla to decentralized identifier spec
    Oh no, he DIDn't

    The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has rejected Google's and Mozilla's objections to the Decentralized Identifiers (DID) proposal, clearing the way for the DID specification to be published a W3C Recommendation next month.

    The two tech companies worry that the open-ended nature of the spec will promote chaos through a namespace land rush that encourages a proliferation of non-interoperable method specifications. They also have concerns about the ethics of relying on proof-of-work blockchains to handle DIDs.

    The DID specification describes a way to deploy a globally unique identifier without a centralized authority (eg, Apple for Sign in with Apple) as a verifying entity.

    Continue reading
  • Google: How we tackled this iPhone, Android spyware
    Watching people's every move and collecting their info – not on our watch, says web ads giant

    Spyware developed by Italian firm RCS Labs was used to target cellphones in Italy and Kazakhstan — in some cases with an assist from the victims' cellular network providers, according to Google's Threat Analysis Group (TAG).

    RCS Labs customers include law-enforcement agencies worldwide, according to the vendor's website. It's one of more than 30 outfits Google researchers are tracking that sell exploits or surveillance capabilities to government-backed groups. And we're told this particular spyware runs on both iOS and Android phones.

    We understand this particular campaign of espionage involving RCS's spyware was documented last week by Lookout, which dubbed the toolkit "Hermit." We're told it is potentially capable of spying on the victims' chat apps, camera and microphone, contacts book and calendars, browser, and clipboard, and beam that info back to base. It's said that Italian authorities have used this tool in tackling corruption cases, and the Kazakh government has had its hands on it, too.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022