On May 1st, 2022, Google will shut down the remaining access to all users of the original “G Suite”. G Suite even started out being called “Google for Domains”, and it offered the ability to use Gmail with a custom domain. That’s what made me sign up at the time. Most of us couldn’t care less for the included word processor, presentations editor, and spreadsheet. Their then toy-like feel disqualified them for any serious user. This has obviously changed over time, and Docs, Sheets, and Slides became fairly competent applications with the benefit of being fully on the cloud, but for most people, it wasn’t what make them join G Suite.
You may not have been affected by this, but for those of us using this service, it means a lot of headaches to shift, or just pony up the $6/month-user. For the average small company, that may be a steal, but for an individual user, may mean paying up to $30/month for a family of five.
I am going to say now, that this may just be a good thing.
I think that the free service from Google has all but stifled innovation. Shutting it down will open the doors for new, innovative, and more aggressive email providers to offer a custom domain alternative, scooping up the demand, but more important than that, it will unlock the possibility of innovation in the office collaboration suite space.
It is 2022, we have devices in our pockets that are more powerful than the first PCs we had, and 5G and the Cloud are everywhere. How come we are still thinking in terms of Documents, Slides, OR Spreadsheets? Yes, information can be shared and embedded among these distinct types of documents, but it is not seamless. How come I have to re-type or Copy-and-Paste (what would we do without copy-and-paste?), between a long-form document and a presentation? Why isn’t it just the same content presented in different ways?
What about the metadata? All the context, sidenotes, and revisions among your team? Why isn’t that information stored along?
There have been some innovative office collaboration suite developers, but their attractiveness has been limited to the early adopters pushing the boundaries. Between two behemoths, Microsoft being the standard that allows for seamless sharing of information, and Google Workplace offering an arguably sub-par but fully connected alternative FOR FREE, there hasn’t been much appetite to try out anything new.
Who knows, maybe this is when we get one platform that replaces them all.
NOTE: There have been some very innovative and noteworthy examples of solutions that behave in a more connected way. Among them are Samepage, Notion, and the long ago announced Microsoft Loop. As for using a custom domain, a little known option is that if you own Apple devices and you are paying for the extra storage, you can also configure iCloud to use your custom domain.