February 9th, 2024

Confused about Google's product offerings?

I have always found the UI's and the built-in documentation for Google's many software offerings (excepting their travel agent-like program) to be monumentally confusing.  Today I finally found a support person (by chatting with no fewer than seven different ones) who knew her stuff cold.  I will share the chat verbatim, because it was that good.  Google has renamed a lot of products, replaced a lot of products, migrated us from product to product, and so on, and for a decade or longer they've continued to fail miserably to clarify what they're doing, but this one little chat clears up most of it, so here you go:

Hi Joseph,

Thanks for being a Google One member!

 Let me try to clear things up and address your concerns:

Breaking down the terms:

  • Google Drive: Your core cloud storage service for files, photos, and documents across all your Google products.
  • Google One: A subscription plan that primarily expands your storage quota for Google Drive, Gmail, and Google Photos. It can be used with personal or Workspace accounts.  [Elsewhere Google says that Google One storage cannot be usd with a Workspace account.]
  • Google Play: Google's digital app and media store primarily for Android devices, similar to Apple's App Store.
  • Google Workspace (formerly G Suite): Google's collection of productivity apps and services (Gmail, Drive, Docs, Calendar, etc.) designed for businesses and organizations.

Why the Confusion:

You're right that Google can be unclear about how these services interact. While they use Google Play as a payment processor for various purchases, even within Workspace subscriptions, it doesn't mean your files are somehow part of the Google Play ecosystem.

Storage & Your Workspace Account:

Since you upgraded to Workspace Business Standard (which includes 2TB of storage), the additional 100GB was indeed unnecessary. No data would have been lost if you canceled the 100GB extra space, as your Workspace plan was sufficient. Companies often migrate towards consolidated product packages as it makes administration and billing easier.

Here's the good news:

  1. No Data Loss: Your files stored in Drive are completely safe if you cancel the 100GB add-on purchase. The extra space does not hold any unique data.
  2. Simplified Billing: You avoid an extra and unnecessary charge within your Workspace billing.

Key Points:

  • It's understandable that with so many similar-sounding Google services, there's confusion. Your original instinct to be cautious before canceling anything was well-placed! It's better to ask, and now you know.
  • Google can and should do a better job of clearly explaining its product structures.

 There's a distinction between Google's offerings for personal use and for businesses, which can create some confusion. Here's how it breaks down:

Google One:

  • Primarily for personal use: Google One's focus is expanding storage and providing extra benefits across the core Google services that many of us use personally (Drive, Gmail, Photos).
  • Can be for business, but there are better options: Technically, you could utilize Google One with a business account for extra storage if needed. However, Google specifically designed Workspace to be the ideal solution for businesses.

Google Workspace:

  • Built for businesses and organizations: Workspace focuses on professional email (@yourcompany.com), secure cloud storage, enhanced collaboration tools, and administrative controls. Since businesses have different needs, it's its own separate ecosystem from the standard Google apps we use as individuals.

The Difference:

Think of it in terms of features and control:

  • Personal Google accounts: Primarily for individual communication, file storage, and entertainment.
  • Google Workspace: Includes the business features on top of the core Google Apps. This means custom domain email addresses, administrative tools to manage users, security features designed for corporate needs, and a larger focus on collaboration tools ideal for teamwork.

Your Discovery:

It's common not to immediately realize this distinction because Gmail serves as the backbone for both regular Google accounts and business Workspace accounts. The main difference becomes apparent when you set up a custom domain email or start exploring the administrative and collaboration features within Workspace.

I'm glad my explanations were helpful! We did great!

If you have any queries or clarifications about Google One, you can always contact us at one.google.com. The Google Support Team is available 24/7. Please be safe and your family too. Thank you for contacting Google One Support! Have a great day!

The Google One team