Google has introduced a new free Workspace plan called Workspace Essentials Starter for businesses. This plan offers users access to services like Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drive and Meet using an existing work email.
The new free plan gives businesses access to Google’s modern productivity tools easily through an existing email which can even be hosted on a custom domain. It omits the hassle of creating a new email address and other problems associated with that. It doesn’t require file conversions, plug-ins, or new desktop software, and all the tools in Essentials Starter will work seamlessly within existing environments.
Previously users who wanted to access Google’s productivity tools using a non-Google email address had to subscribe to the ‘Business Starter’ plan at USD 6 or Rs 210 per month. Now, they can simply sign up with the free plan and start using the tools. This is not a trial for a limited period and users will continue to get the services for free.
This plan includes 15GB of storage in Google Drive (separate from personal Gmail account storage), the ability to call up to 100 people and have meetings of up to 60 minutes through Google Meet along with a team management and permissions control dashboard.
Although an organization can have an unlimited number of groups, the maximum number of members allowed in groups is restricted to 25 people. According to Google, the new Workspace Essentials Starter plan will be gradually rolled out over a multiple-week period and might not be available in some regions until mid-February, 2022.
Notably, the move comes a decade after the company stopped offering free G Suite accounts which allowed businesses to host Google accounts on their custom domains. Google had also said recently that current G Suite customers have to upgrade their accounts to a paid subscription by May 1 2022.