Google Cloud offers free Google Workspace “Essentials Starter”

Google Cloud is launching a new free but limited version of its Google Workspace collaboration and productivity suite.

Google Workspace Essential Starter gives business users free access to its Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drive, Meet, Chat, and Tasks documents using their existing email.

Features include one-on-one and team video meetings, real-time messaging, team collaboration in spaces, which are integrated with Google Workspace tools, and the ability to store, share, or co-edit over 100 types of files, including Microsoft Office. documents and PDFs, without the need for file conversions. Google Workspace Essential Starter Edition is accessible from mobile devices, tablets, or computers, and Drive for desktop allows file and folder synchronization with a personal computer or Mac.

Google Cloud rebranded its former cloud-native G Suite applications, which are powered by Google’s artificial intelligence, as Google Workspace in October 2020. Google Workspace currently has over 3 billion users in consumer sectors , enterprise and education, according to Google Cloud, with usage driven by the coronavirus pandemic and the shift to remote and hybrid working.

In a blog post Thursday, Google Workspace vice president of marketing Kelly Waldher described the new free offering as making it easy for employees to choose their own productivity tools for work, noting that Google Workspace Essential Starter Edition doesn’t require no new email address, file conversions, new plug-ins or desktop software.

“Essentials Starter can help employees and their teams break down silos and work together in new ways, even if their organization still relies on legacy productivity tools that weren’t designed for the hybrid age of work. “Waldher said in the blog post. “All Essentials Starter tools will work quickly and easily in your existing environment. And because we designed Google Workspace to run on our industry-leading cloud foundation, Essentials Starter provides encrypted and secure file access, helping to keep users safe and their data private. information. »

Basic Essentials vs Paid Editions of Google Workspace

Google Workspace Essential Starter differs from the paid editions of Google Workspace (Business Starter, Business Standard, Business Plus and Enterprise) which offer personalized work email management, more storage space per user, advanced video conferencing features, enterprise level administration commands and other features.

Google Workspace Essential Starter Edition does not come with Gmail. While it includes secure one-to-one video meetings and team meetings for three to 100 people, these group meetings will be limited to 60 minutes each.

The Starter Edition also does not include advanced security features or live support.

It comes with 15GB of Google Drive storage and no shared drives.

Not a replacement for G Suite Legacy Free Edition

The new offering comes as Google Cloud announced it was retiring its legacy G Suite free edition which dates back to 2006 and has a reduced set of pro features.

Google Cloud, which blocked new users from signing up for the old free edition of G Suite in December 2012, said it would no longer be available from July 1. Current users must upgrade to a paid subscription to Google Workspace before May 1 to keep their accounts and services, according to the cloud provider.

According to a Google Cloud spokesperson, Google Workspace Essentials Starter does not replace the old G Suite free offer, and there is no way to seamlessly migrate from the old G Suite free edition to Google Workspace Essentials Starter.

“The G Suite Legacy Free Tier gives customers personalized email and access to basic business features,” the spokesperson said. “Although Google Workspace Essentials Starter is also available for free, it was designed for people at work and does not include personalized email. It is designed to work with their existing work email and does not require domain verification.”

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