Google Workspace Essentials Is Not The Free G Suite Fix We Wanted

Google has announced a new tier of its Workspace service, formerly G Suite, called Workspace Essentials. The company's goal is to undo the PR mess it created when it announced the free G Suite option was being discontinued, but we believe the new plan still misses the mark. Google announced in January 2022 that it was ending its free G Suite plan. G Suite was a service that allowed individuals and companies to use Gmail, as well as Google's other services, in conjunction with their own domain name. Instead of, they're account would be, but integrate with Gmail, essentially using Gmail as their email provider.

Needless to say, the service was very popular, but Google eventually replaced it with Google Workspace, which was a paid service. Legacy users could continue using their free G Suite accounts, however, at least until Google announced it was killing those off as well. When users grandfathered in to a free tier were told they would need to upgrade to a paid plan, it did not go over well.

Google Workspace Essentials — Close, But Not Quite

After predictable backlash, Google has offered what it hopes will be a solution, its new Workplace Essentials tier. The new plan offers a number of features that should serve most customers well, including:

  • The ability to use and collaborate on Google Sheets, Slides, and Docs.
  • Host secure video meetings with up to 100 participants, for up to 60 minutes each meeting.
  • The ability to use Google Chat, for one-on-one and group conversations.
  • Spaces integration.
  • Easy signup with an existing email account.
  • Despite the list of features that comes with the Essentials plan, there are a couple of noticeable features missing.

    First and foremost, despite the fact that a user signs up with their existing email address, Essentials offers no Gmail integration. Customers accustomed to using their email address with Gmail, and benefiting from Google's industry-leading platform, are out of luck. They'll still have to pay to regain that feature.

    The second major difference is reduced storage. While paid plans start with 30 GB of storage, the Essentials plan only comes with 15 GB.

    While both limitations may impact some users, the lack of Gmail integration is particularly disappointing. It's a common and accepted practice in the industry to provide limited storage options for free accounts as an incentive to upsell individuals to paid plans. In the case of G Suite, however, its integration with Gmail was always one of its biggest selling points. Completely removing that from any free option eliminates one of the service's biggest advantages and is a major miss for Google.