G Suite legacy free edition users need to upgrade to paid accounts or lose access to their content by July 1, 2022
Google has announced that it is ending free access to its bundled productivity tools for custom domains on May 1, 2022. Accounts that haven't switched to a paid plan by then will automatically be migrated to one of the new tiered plans based on current usage on their G Suite legacy free edition, according to Google's email to account administrators.
The paid tiers range in price from Business Starter's $6 /user/month up to $18 /user/month. Microbusinesses with only a single existing Gmail can upgrade to Workspace Individual for $9.99/month, but without a custom email address.
Google will suspend automatic Workspace subscription/accounts if billing details are not entered before July 1, 2022. Accounts that have upgraded will not be billed until that date. A Google support page on upgrading from the legacy free edition outlines the steps admins need to take in order not to lose access to core Google Workspace services.
The free "Google Apps" program for businesses and schools was first offered in 2006 and discontinued 6 years later, but the tech behemoth hasn't made major alterations to those accounts in the last 10 years.
Google Apps was rebranded in 2016 as "G Suite" to signal the transition from Gmail, Docs, Drive, etc. as disconnected apps to a more sophisticated cloud-based business productivity suite to compete with top player Microsoft 365. Microsoft 365's plan prices currently start from $6.99 a month.