Google Workspace: Which plan is right for you?

Illustration: Andy Wolber/TechRepublic

Google Workspace represents a rebranding of a set of apps formerly known as G Suite. The announcement signaled the direction Google wanted: a unified workspace. But Google Workspace pricing sends a more important signal than the renaming of Google’s existing app offerings.

Here you can take a look at the current Google Workspace plans and prices, as well as key features to consider when choosing a plan.

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Plans and pricing for Google Workspace

Google Workspace’s plans

Google Workspace now offers three Business plans (Starter, Standard, and Plus) and two Enterprise plans (Standard and Plus).Figure A). An additional option, Google Workspace Essentials Starter, allows teams of up to 25 people to use an existing email and calendar collaboration system, as well as Google’s collaboration tools such as Google Docs.

Figure A

Google Workspace offers three Business plans and two Enterprise plans with published prices.
Google Workspace offers three Business plans and two Enterprise plans with published prices.

Pricing for Google Workspace Business plans

  • Google Workspace Business Starter Tool: $6 per user per month
  • Google Workspace Business Standard: $12 per user per month
  • Google Workspace Business Plus: $18 per user per month

Pricing for Google Workspace Enterprise plans

Pricing is not published for Enterprise plans. As a former customer, the offers I saw when I went through the upgrade process included; The per-user pricing that Google offers your organization for Enterprise plans may differ.

  • Google Workspace Enterprise Standard: $20 per user per month
  • Google Workspace Enterprise Plus: $30 per user per month

Google requires new customers looking for Enterprise licenses to contact Sales. Note that there is no minimum or maximum number of users for enterprise plans.

Google provides a comparison page with an overview comparing legacy G Suite Basic and Business plans to the currently available Business Starter, Standard, and Plus plans (Figure B).

Figure B

For existing G Suite customers, Google provides a detailed comparison of the G Suite Basic and Business packages with the three Google Workspace Business plans.
For existing G Suite customers, Google provides a detailed comparison of the G Suite Basic and Business packages with the three Google Workspace Business plans.

Existing customers can stay on a previous plan, such as G Suite Basic, Business, or Enterprise, or choose to upgrade to a new Workspace plan through the terms of the plan. Previous G Suite Education and Nonprofits plan customers can upgrade to similar versions of Google Workspace for Education or Google Workspace for Nonprofits.

Adjusted prices align Google Workspace pricing more closely with Microsoft 365. For example, Microsoft lists the pricing for their 365 Business offerings as follows:

  • Microsoft 365 Business Essentials: $6 per user per month
  • Microsoft 365 Business Standard: $12.50 per user per month
  • Microsoft 365 Business Premium: $22 per user per month

Key features of some Google Workspace and G Suite plans

The following analysis compares the key features of the Business Starter, Business Standard, and Business Plus plans with legacy G Suite Basic and Business plans.

User limits

All Google Workspace Business plans add one key restriction previously unavailable to previous G Suite plans: a maximum of 300 users. If you need 300+ user accounts, you will need an Enterprise plan. Microsoft similarly sets a 300 user account limit on Microsoft 365 Business plans.

Storage limits

Here are the per-user limits for the Google Workspace Business storage plan:

  • 30GB per user for Business Starter
  • 2TB per user for Business Standard
  • 5TB per user for Business Plus

Unlimited storage is now only available on Workspace Enterprise plans.

TO SEE: Google Workspace storage: 3 key things you need to know (TechRepublic)

Any files created, added, or modified after June 1, 2021 count towards the user’s storage limit. Files such as Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawings, Forms, Sites, images (eg JPG, PNG), PDFs, Word, Excel, PowerPoint and other formats will count towards storage limits.

Google Workspace release plan Storage limit
Essentials Getting Started 15GB per user
Business Starter 30GB per user
Business Standard 2TB per user
Business Plus 5TB per user
Enterprise Standard/Plus as much as you need

external sharing

Of the three Google Workspace Business plans, both Business Standard and Business Plus offer an administrator the ability to restrict and manage external file sharing with specific domains. In the past, G Suite Basic and G Suite Business allowed an administrator to block external file sharing.

Google Meet recording

Business Standard and Business Plus add the ability to record and record Google Meet video conferences. While Google introduced registration to G Suite users to support COVID-19 work-from-home initiatives, registration was not a standard benefit of G Suite Basic or G Suite Business plans.

Maximum number of Google Meet participants for plans:

  • 100 people for Business Starter
  • 150 people for Business Standard
  • 500 people for Business Plus

Google’s feature comparison page lists various Meet features such as surveys, Q&A, and breakout rooms, all of which require a Business Standard or better account. Business Plus and better plans also support attendance tracking in Meet.

E-discovery and retention

Google Vault is the organization’s offering to support administrative e-discovery and data retention. Only Business Plus includes Google Vault; however, organizations in Starter and Standard can choose Vault as a paid add-on. When I took a look at the prices I was offering, Vault showed an additional price of $5 per user per month. In the past, the G Suite Business plan included Google Vault.

How to choose a new Google Workspace plan?

If you are a new customer, your task is relatively simple. Define your needs, choose the plan that best balances your needs and budget, and then help people in your organization get started with Workspace.

If you’re a G Suite or Google Workspace customer, an administrator can sign in to the Admin console to access account options. To do this, the administrator logs in to https://admin.google.com, selects the menu with three horizontal lines in the upper left corner, then selects Billing and Get More Services from the submenu.

If you’re an existing customer, Google Admin highlights available Google Workspace plans on the Get More Services page (Figure C).

Figure C

The Google Admin console displays the Google Workspace plan options.
The Google Admin console displays the Google Workspace plan options.

Choose any of the options and the system will show details of the key features your account will gain or lose. Choose your option, troubleshoot identified issues, and follow step-by-step instructions to migrate.

Updating G Suite Business to a Google Workspace plan

For recent years, I’ve been using the G Suite Business plan, which costs $12 per user per month. Here’s how I evaluated the three new Workspace options.

First, I can choose to spend the same amount: $12 per user per month for Google Workspace Business Standard (Figure D).

Figure D

The Admin console for my G Suite Business account detailed the specific features to change.
The Admin console for my G Suite Business account detailed the specific features to change.

Google has labeled this as downgrading as I will allow fewer users (300 not unlimited) and less storage (2TB per user, not unlimited) and lose Google Vault, access to data regions, endpoint management features and more .

Second, I can choose to spend more than $18 per user per month for Google Workspace Business Plus. Fewer users (300, not unlimited) and less storage (5TB per user, not unlimited) would be allowed.

Third, I can choose to spend $20 per user per month for Google Workspace Enterprise Standard. With this option, I retained the ability to add unlimited users, have unlimited storage, and gain some security checks.

I upgraded to Enterprise Standard as I value access to enterprise features for writing and working. Organizations in other plans will have different considerations and priorities.

If you’re an administrator who manages Google Workspace plans, this Cloud Computing Policy from TechRepublic Premium may come in handy.

What do you think of these Google Workspace plans?

It will be interesting to see the reaction of savvy IT practitioners who choose G Suite or Google Apps, precisely because in the past Google allowed unlimited users for all paid plans. Will these customers choose to pay more, or will they see this as an opportunity to explore alternatives? Let me know your thoughts on the latest Google Workspace plans and prices via Mastodon (@awolber).

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