Most of us are familiar with Google’s application like gmail or Google Docs, and chances are, you’ve used at least one of these services in recent years. Part of the reason driving these Google applications’ popularity is that they are very reliable, very secure with Google’s infrastructure, and easy to use despite their rich set of features. Also, Google offers most of these applications for free. However, if you’d like to get more features and functionalities from these applications, Google also offers the paid versions of these apps in a package they call Google Workspace. Yet, while many businesses and even individuals are interested in upgrading to Google Workspace, the fact that Google offers many different types of licenses (editions) can be confusing for some users. In this guide, we provide you with all you need to know about Google Workspace licensing, including a comparison of the different Google Workspace editions, and the answers to the most Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) regarding Google Workspace licensing. 

How Does Google Workspace Licensing Work?

Google Workspace licensing is user-based. Meaning a user can only use the Google Workspace applications after they have been assigned a (paid) license. 

Every Google Workspace license will include access to the following applications/services:

  • Gmail: at the moment, the most popular email client in the world
  • Drive: cloud storage service
  • Meet: video conferencing/communication solution
  • Calendar: cloud interactive calendar
  • Chat: team communication and productivity solution
  • Jamboard: (hardware purchased separately) digital interactive whiteboard for collaboration
  • Docs/Slides/Sheets: alternatives to Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel
  • Keep: cloud-based note-taking solution
  • Sites: intuitive website builder
  • Forms: cloud-based survey/questionnaire solution

What Types of Google Workspace Licenses are Available?

While Google offers various Google Workspace licenses (including custom ones for specific industries), there are only four basic editions offered, and what’s offered on other editions is based on these four basic ones:

Google Workspace Business Starter

Price: $6/user/month

Features: 

  • Personalized, branded, and secure business email with advanced security features
  • 100 maximum video conference participants in Google Meet
  • 30 GB of Google Drive cloud storage
  • Security and management control features
  • Standard support only

Google Workspace Business Standard

Price: $12/user/month

Features:

  • Personalized, branded business email with advanced security features
  • 150 maximum video conference participants in Google Meet
  • 2 TB of Google Drive Cloud Storage
  • More security and management control features
  • Standard support, possible paid upgrade to Enhanced support

Google Workspace Business Plus

Price: $18/user/month

Features: 

  • Personalized, branded business email with advanced security features
  • 500 maximum video conference participants in Google Meet, attendance tracking
  • 5 TB Google Drive Cloud Storage
  • Enhanced security and management control features
  • Google Vault and advanced endpoint management are available
  • Standard support, possible paid upgrade to Enhanced support

Google Workspace Enterprise

Price: Contact for pricing

Features: 

  • Custom business email with advanced security features
  • eDiscovery, and retention with Google Vault, S/MIME encryption
  • 500 video conference participants in Meet, noise cancellation, in-domain live streaming
  • Up to unlimited Google Drive Cloud Storage
  • Enhanced security and management control features, including Google Vault, advanced enterprise endpoint management, DLP, and data regions
  • Enhanced support, possible paid upgrade to Premium support 

Note: the Business editions are only available for up to 300 user licenses. Organizations that need more than 300 licenses must opt for the Google Workspace Enterprise edition. 

How Google Differentiates between Different Plans?

The table below will be able to help you in evaluating between different Google Workspace editions:

FeatureGoogle Workspace BusinessGoogle Workspace Enterprise
StarterStandardPlus
Gmail, Docs/Slides/Sheet, Photos storage per user30 GB2TB5TBUnlimited
Google Vault (eDiscovery and permanent data storage)YesYesYesYes
DLP (Data Loss Prevention)No NoNoYes 
Choose a geographic location for data storageNoNoYesYes 
Security CenterNoNo YesYes
Endpoint ManagementNoNoYesYes 
Google Meet maximum participants per meeting100150250250
Cloud SearchNoYesYesYes 

To summarize, there are four major factors differentiating different Google Workspace licenses:

Google Drive storage limit

The Google Workspace Business Starter edition has a mere 30 GB of Drive storage capacity while the standard edition has a Drive storage limit of 2TB. The Google Business Plus edition offers 5TB storage space, while the Enterprise edition has unlimited Drive storage capacity.

Cloud search capabilities

Google Cloud Search is available on Business Standard editions and above (Business Plus and Enterprise.) The Business Plus and Enterprise editions also offer the capability to use Cloud Search across third-party services supported by Google Workspace.

Google Meet Capabilities

Different Google Workspace license types offer different maximum participants to Meet video meetings. However, Business Standard and above editions offer the ability to record video meetings.

Google Vault

Google Vault, Google’s eDiscovery and secure data storage solution, is available on all plans, but the full features including the Security Center are only available on the Enterprise edition.

Which Google Workspace Edition Should I Choose?

As you can see from the differences above, each Google Workspace edition is targeted at different types of businesses and individuals, and here are some pointers.

  • Business Starter is geared towards small businesses and individual users (i.e., freelancers.) that don’t really need advanced features and large Drive storage but would appreciate the branded email address.
  • Business Standard is mainly targeted at small to medium-sized businesses that require increased Drive storage for more effective data management, as well as more features including better data security and controls around device management.
  • Business Plus is for larger businesses (below 300 license users) that require more features, especially data security and assistance for compliance but are not yet ready to upgrade to the Enterprise plan.
  • Enterprise, pretty self-explanatory, is designed for very large businesses with more than 300 license users.

Wrapping Up

Google Workspace licensing options can be quite confusing, and making your choice for one may be quite a daunting task if you don’t know what you should be looking for. 
With that being said, you can refer back to the article above if want to make the most of your Google Workspace investment, and you can also choose to sign up for your Google Workspace plan through like Pythian where you’ll get the same pricing you’d get from Google, but on top of that, you’ll get extra benefits like personalized training and education and reliable customer support.

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