Since 2009, I have been using a Google product called G Suite, which has since been renamed to Google Apps for Domains, and most recently renamed to Google Workspace.
This service was always free, for me, as I signed up before the free-tier was cancelled in December of 2012. I even bought my wife, Jen, a domain and set is up on G Suite before then (neiher of us could remember which year), as we were just dating at the time. In any case, we have both been using our own vanity domain email addresses, using G Suite Gmail for over ten years now.
In the beginning of 2022, Google announced that “G Suite legacy Free edition” would be cancelled on 31 May 2022.
Start The Inventory
I was not angry, really. I’d been using this free service for years, so I also have a lot of data to find and preserve. My wife really only uses the Email and Google Docs services, and most of those docs, she has shared with me, so that is easy to list, as they aren’t different from mine.
I have (this) blog, and Jen has a dormant one that she only posted a few entries on.
Neither of us have ever kept our ONLY copy of a photo or a song in an online service, so we’re choosing to ignore Google Picasa (and I think Google Music already shut down).
- Two user’s of email, going back ~13 years
- Google Drive data / docs
Then it hit me. Our Android phones. I’ve been a G Suite user since before I ever owned my own cell phone (I always had a company issued phone until 2014). Since then, I’d set my own phone directly up using my G Suite email address. Ugh, and my wife has too, since she first got a smart phone. So, real question, what will happen to all my paid apps? Oh, we both use Google Voice, too. So, I go looking for answers.
There was a vague mention of working on a way to transition user accounts to a free option. Kind of a “watch this space”, which was in a help document that, frankly, was not easy to find. So, I figure there’ll be a way to transfer things I’ve purchased onto a regular Google account. Just no details about that that could look like.
Doing the Move
So, in mid February, I backed up all of my e-mail, and paid another provider to do our e-mail hosting. They do two domains on one service price, which is great, but they don’t do long term storage (that’s on me), good thing I run my own servers.
With the service as I have it set up, our email is currently routed to Microsoft free email accounts, and then we have our from to masquerade as our own domain. It doesn’t work as well as Google’s Gmail, but it works.
By March, we removed each-other from our G Suite accounts, given the information we had was that the transition plan would only be available to individual users, and neither of us actually used the other’s G Suite, unless it was to get to something that hadn’t been shared outside of each domain yet. I also deleted my kid’s G Suite account, as I was already forwarding her email with the new service.
In April, I figured out where to store all of our Google documents (after pain-stakingly exporting each one in a Microsoft Office format, one at a time).
March turned to April, then to May, and eventually, the answer popped up, with only weeks before the original deadline.
The deadline to lock in the settings is now 27 June. AND the G Suite legacy free edition isn’t going away. Confirm personal use, click here, and continue using this service for free.
Easy, done. I got Jen to hit the button, too.
Too Late, Mostly
So, I’ve already moved my e-mail. I’ve already backed up everything on my Google Drive. I’ve been working, for weeks now, on moving all of my Google Blogs to a self-hosted solution (this here), and I threw that switch today.
Look, I prefer GMail to any other email solution, but I am not about to put my eggs BACK in that basket after having lived with the threat of them taking it away.
As of now, G Suite legacy free edition still holds our Android accounts and apps, the phone number most folks know for both of us, and my YouTube Premium subscription. (Ad-free YouTube on the big TV!)
If the Android apps I paid for are eventually taken went away, we’ll probably switch to iPhones. Android still gets new features first, but the iPhone has mostly caught up. Rebuying apps is one of the biggest deterrents for either of us at this point.
So, this blog is now hosted on twin redundant servers in my New York apartment living room. I have been working on it at blog.vollink.nyc for the last few weeks, and by the end of this long weekend, its primary home will fully switch to blog.vollink.com. That delay is just give some extra time for anyone who still has stale DNS records poining to Google’s blogger service.
Old Broken Blogs
There are several images and links on old blogs that are broken. They were broken on Google’s Blogger service, too, just due to link rot, and I have not taken the time to individually try to fix them, and in many cases, I don’t don’t think it even possible. That is, I’m not likely to try to revive these old broken bits. The text has been preserved for blogs going all the way back to late 2007, when I first started using Blogger, and it’s all here.