Old-fashioned Legacy G Suite users recently got a chill when another new “Transition” message popped up in the Google Admin console. “The transition to Google Workspace has begun,” read the new message that suddenly appeared in people’s accounts. That was after Legacy G Suite users went through a controversial transition over the past year, in which Google’s opening position was to close their accounts if people didn’t start paying, but it was eventually persuaded not to. A Google spokesperson told us that the workspace transition message “was a bug showing up an old banner from earlier in the process last year, and our team is working to remove it. No further changes are happening at this time, and those who previously opted in – for personal use – are unlikely to take any further action.”
We received a few questions about this news, and this Reddit post has people wondering what the deal is, but it’s just a bug. That’s great, because legacy G Suite users have been through enough already. As a reminder, Google currently offers businesses the option to pay a monthly fee for a Google/Gmail account ending in a custom domain name instead of @gmail.com. Today this is called “Google Workspace”, but due to Google’s constant renaming, it was first called “Google Apps for your Domain”, then “Google Apps” and then “G Suite”. Google’s custom domain service hasn’t always been a paid service, and it wasn’t always aimed exclusively at businesses — it was free from 2006 to 2012. Google even made these accounts available to families to give everyone similar email addresses. Some people have done this, which means that today they get a paid service for free.
Last year, Google’s accounting department turned its eye from Sauron to these longtime users, threatening to strip them of their almost 16-year-old accounts if they didn’t start paying a business rate for these formerly free and not necessarily business accounts. After a public outcry, Google finally left these “legacy G Suite accounts” alone after users confirmed they were using their accounts for “non-business” purposes. After that everything was settled.
Legacy G Suite users are expressly not part of “Workspace”, a paid service. So this new message that surfaced yesterday suggests that they would have switched to another new service. Even though Google says it’s a bug that users could see this message, following the prompt would actually result in another error message about “Google Workspace for personal use” which is a product that doesn’t exist. Workspace has tiers like Business Starter and Grandfathered-In users use Legacy G Suite, but Workspace for personal use isn’t a thing. Apparently this was all the beta branding for the original plan last year and somehow it all got released yesterday.
By the way, Google Workspace for personal use would be a great product for Google to sell. We’ve already complained that Apple and Microsoft sell email services to consumers with custom domains at a reasonable price, but Google doesn’t, only offering business email at much more expensive prices. A big part of the legacy G-Suite problem is that those personal users have nowhere to go within Google.