Google makes Workspace free to all users and brings extra features

Anyone with a Gmail account can now access Google’s premium features for free

Google Workspace
(Image credit: Google)

Google Workspace is the complete collection of Google products that were previously limited to paid business and education users. But from today, all Google account holders – that’s anyone with a Gmail or Googlemail account – can access it all, for nothing.

Previously known as G Suite, Workspace is designed to be not just a collection of all the programs that businesses need, but a fully integrated system that allows to collaborate on projects in real-time and work seamlessly across programs, from email and video to calendars and spreadsheets.

While free Google account holders already had access to the main programs, the ability to collaborate with friends, family or your own groups of people will give users the same abilities as was limited to business and education accounts.

Google Workspace

(Image credit: Google)

In addition to this access, Google Chat will be turning its Rooms into Spaces, with a new and easier user interface. Google Meet – its video chat functionality – also get a load more features, including a new Companion Mode to allow everyone access to its advanced features, such as polls, live captions, in-meeting chat and hand raising.

Moderation tools for hosts will allow them to limit the use of various functions by participants, as well as mute and unmute them. Hybrid meetings are now also catered for by allowing those invited to let the organizer know if they are attending in person or virtually.  

For users wanting to use the Google Workspace for a small business, Workspace Individual is a new subscription service that adds useful features such as smart online booking, pro video meeting services, and personalized email marketing. This is due to cost $9.99 per month (discounted to $7.99 for the launch), though it’s not clear if this will be in addition to the current paid options or a replacement for one of them.

To access the new Google Workspace features you need to turn on Chat in Gmail.

  • On your computer, open Gmail.
  • At the top right, click Settings > View all settings.
  • At the top, click Chat and Meet.
  • Next to “Chat,” to turn Chat on or off in Gmail, select Google Chat or Off.
  • Click Save Changes.
Mat Gallagher
Mat Gallagher

As T3's Managing Editor in the US, Mat is a true lover of gadgets, but especially anything that involves cameras, cars, music or travel.