There's an all-new free version of Google Workspace for work

Google Workspace office use
(Image credit: Google Workspace)

Workers looking to experience a host of the most popular Google Workspace software can now try for free thanks to a new offering from the company.

The new Google Workspace Essentials plan provides access to the likes of Meet, Chat, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides and more as the company looks to offer its online collaboration tools to more businesses than ever before.

What's more, you don't even need a Gmail account to sign up - and it's absolutely free.

Free Google Workspace

"We’re rolling out a new version designed to help people bring the apps they know and love to use in their personal lives to their work life," Kelly Waldher, Vice President of Marketing, Google Workspace, wrote in a blog post.

"The new Google Workspace Essentials Starter Edition is a no-cost solution for business users looking to enhance teamwork and unlock innovation with secure-by-design collaboration. With Essentials Starter, we’re making it easy for employees to choose their own productivity tools and bring modern collaboration to work."

There are some caveats to the plan, as users will only get 15GB of cloud storage, down from the usual 30GB available with the basic Google Workspace Business Starter plan, which typically costs $6/user/month.

There's also obviously no access to Gmail either, but users will be able to hold Google Meet video conferences of up to 100 people for up to an hour, as well as access to Spaces, Google Chat, Sheets, Slides and Docs.

The news comes as something of a surprise, given Google had recently said it would be cutting down on users accessing Google Workspace for free.

The company announced that all G Suite legacy free edition users would soon be shifted over to a paid version of Google Workspace from July 1 in order to ensure they kept access to tools such as Gmail, Meet and Docs.

This had upset users who may have recently signed up for the software, particularly non-business users facing having to pay for the first time, with Google saying that anyone not signed up to a paid subscription by the July deadline faced being locked out.

Google Workplace plans start at $6/user/month for its Business Starter option, with Business Standard ($12/user/month) and Business Plus ($18 /user/month) also on offer, providing an increasing level of services with the amount paid.

Google plans to automatically upgrade free users from May 1 to "an upgraded Google Workspace paid subscription", based on its analysis of the customer's usage and the features it thinks you'll need. The company is also offering businesses who don't want to pay or upgrade the chance to export their data at no extra cost.

Mike Moore
Deputy Editor, TechRadar Pro

Mike Moore is Deputy Editor at TechRadar Pro. He has worked as a B2B and B2C tech journalist for nearly a decade, including at one of the UK's leading national newspapers and fellow Future title ITProPortal, and when he's not keeping track of all the latest enterprise and workplace trends, can most likely be found watching, following or taking part in some kind of sport.