Google unveils free Gmail-less workspace tier

(Pocket-lint) – Google may have found a way to loosen Microsoft’s grip on businesses and offices, by introducing a free tier of its Workspace suite, called Essential Starter, this does not include Gmail.

You’ll be able to easily sign up with your existing work email address, and while you won’t get Gmail services, you’ll be able to use Chat, Docs, Drive, Meet, Sheets, and Slides. Google is likely hoping teams can use Essentials Starter to ditch their old productivity tools, like the Microsoft Office suite, when they want to improve team collaboration or start a new project.

So if your business is all-in on Microsoft 365, much to your chagrin, you can just use Essentials Starter if you prefer. Of course, you might run into issues if your employer or other team members are more familiar with Excel and completely on Google Sheets. The idea, however, is that some workers will be incentivized to use Google’s app, and if Google can start picking a company’s employees one-by-one, then perhaps more companies will consider supplementing their productivity offerings with Workspace or replace them altogether.

According to the Google blog, users who sign up with their existing work email accounts can immediately start inviting colleagues to work on projects with them, with Google providing 15GB of Drive storage to each user. Employees can also talk to each other via Chat and Meet. And while teams are limited to 25, an unlimited number of teams in an organization can register.

Google said Workspace Essentials Starter “is rolling out over a period of several weeks and may not be available in some regions until mid-February 2022.”

Written by Maggie Tillman.

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